PRIDE Month 2021

Pride Month is dedicated to uplifting of LGBTQ voices, celebrating LGBTQ culture and supporting LGBTQ rights. One of those basic human rights is to be safe in a relationship.

To highlight the importance of this topic within the LGBTQ community, we share an excerpt from an article written by the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Foundation Public Education & Research Staff with contributions from Ashley Taylor. In it, the following common myths about intimate partner violence in LGBTQ+ relationships are dispelled and tips and resources for help are shared.

Myth: Domestic violence is mainly a ‘straight’ issue and does not occur often in LGBTQ relationships.

Truth: Although many people believe that only straight women can be victims of domestic violence, domestic violence actually occurs in LGBTQ relationships at similar or higher rates than in the general population.

Myth: Incidents of domestic violence are less severe in LGBTQ relationships than when it happens in straight relationships.

Truth: The abuse experienced by LGBTQ individuals can be equally or more damaging. Studies show that gay men and bisexual women are more likely to experience severe physical violence than their straight counterparts, including being beaten, burned or choked.

Myth: Psychological violence, which includes name calling, insulting, humiliating or attempting to monitor, control or threaten a partner, is not as serious as physical or sexual violence.

Truth: Psychological violence can be an equally devastating form of abuse. In particular, threats to out another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a means of control are unique to the LGBTQ community.

Myth: The more masculine, bigger and/or stronger partner is typically the abuser.

Truth: Gender plays a significant role in perceiving and reporting instances of domestic violence. Many people ‘gender’ the violence in LGBTQ relationships; for example, they may assume that the offender in a relationship is always the more masculine-presenting partner. However, domestic violence does not discriminate: it can impact or be perpetrated by any person regardless of their physical or personal attributes (e.g.. size, gender expression or age).

Myth: It is easier for LGBTQ victims to leave abusive relationships than it is for their straight and/or married counterparts.

Truth: LGBTQ relationships are just as legitimate as straight relationships. Regardless of the gender identity, sexual orientation or marital status of two people in a relationship, leaving an abusive partner is often a difficult and painful process. Being in a LGBTQ relationship does not diminish that pain.

Myths like those listed above are harmful to our community and cultivate a culture where survivors can feel afraid to come forward or fear they will not be believed. No one should have to suffer in silence.

Here are some things you can do to help:

If you suspect a friend, family member or coworker may be in an abusive relationship, there are several ways to be supportive, including being non-judgmental, listening and helping them to create a safety plan.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, seek help by calling the JBWS 24-hour helpline at 1-877-R-U-ABUSED. Everyone is welcome at JBWS. Or, seek help and information from one of the national LGBTQ-friendly resources listed below.

  • The Anti-Violence Project: serves people who are LGBTQ; Hotline 1-212-714-1141, Bilingual 24/7
  • The Network La Red: serves people who are LGBTQ, poly and kink/BDSM; Bilingual. Hotline – Voice: 1-617-742-4911; Toll-Free: 1-800-832-1901; TTY: 1-617-227-4911
  • FORGE: serves transgender and gender nonconforming survivors of domestic and sexual violence; provides referrals to local counselors, 1-414-559-2123
  • Love is Respect Hotline (for youth): online chat; 1-866-331-9474 (24/7); TTY: 1-866-331-8453; or Text “loveis” to 22522
  • LGBT National Help Center: Youth Hotline 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743); LGBT National Hotline 1-888-843-4564; Sage LGBT Elder Hotline 1-888-234-7243
  • Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline: 1-800-832-1901