Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence Survivors

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January 2001
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment
  • Resource for Women and Advocates
  • Archival Material

Abused women and/or men in same-gender relationships face unique barriers to asserting their rights to be free from domestic violence including homophobia and misconceptions about domestic violence in same-gender relationships. Consider the following:

  • Research indicates that the rate of domestic violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community is similar to the rate among heterosexuals.
  • Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals do not identify themselves as victims of domestic violence because of the myth that battering does not occur in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, or the myth that same-gender violence is “mutual battering.”
  • Many cases of domestic violence go unreported because of fear of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia by friends and family, as well as by the police and judicial system. Others don't come forward because of their fear of being “outed.”

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, you may face the possibility of double discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity and your status as a domestic violence survivor when you seek assistance from the police, the judicial system, a service provider, or your employer.

This is especially true in the workplace, where homophobia and stereotyping about domestic violence survivors often prevent abused women and/or men in same-gender relationships from asserting their employment rights. For example, a lesbian may be fearful of talking to her employer to develop a safety plan or to ask for job-protected medical leave for injuries from abuse. Victims of sexual assault by persons of the same sex may face similar challenges.