LGBTQ Survivors

Domestic Violence and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Community

It happens here, too.

The same issues of power and control can be present in the whole continuum of relationships, no matter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Unique Tactics of Abuse Related to Homophobia and Heterosexism

The dynamics of domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships are the same as those in heterosexual relationships. However, there are unique tactics abusers can use in an LGBTQ relationship that are related to how society treats the LGBTQ community (homophobia and heterosexism). This includes:

  • Threatening to “out” the victims if they have not publicly revealed their sexual identity, which could mean losing friends/family, not being accepted in their faith communities, and (depending on state laws) could mean losing their jobs and/or being evicted.
  • The abusive partner denying the abuse based on the idea that abuse only happens between a man and a woman (heterosexism bias in society)
  • Victims fearing that society will reject them because they do not fit in the traditional gender roles of society. For example, society tends to punish people who do not meet traditional expectations of masculinity and femininity and may even blame those people for the abuse.
  • The victim may even try to hide the abuse to prevent tarnishing the image of the LGBTQ community.

These potential barriers may dissuade or prevent LGBTQ victims of abuse from reaching out for help.


  • 11% of lesbians reported violence by their female partner
  • 15% of gay men who had lived with a male partner reported being victimized by their partner
  • Roughly half of intersex and transgender individuals have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner
  • 2% of bisexual men and 11.6% of gay men were raped in adulthood, compared to 1.6% of heterosexual men
  • 46% of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 13% of lesbians and 17% of heterosexual women
  • 25% of transgender individuals reported being sexually assaulted after the age of 13

Resources for people experiencing violence in a LGBTQ Relationship

Click here for National Domestic Violence Hotline web site: 800-799-7233           

Click here for The Network/La Red Hotline (English/Español): Hotline 1-617-742-4911

  • For confidential support, information, and referrals to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender supportive resources