Many people have a specific image when they hear the words “domestic violence.” This image usually consists of an abusive husband and battered wife and often doesn’t acknowledge the other ways domestic violence presents itself, especially in LGBTQ+ relationships.
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and “plus” (LGBTQ+) community experience aspects of abuse similar to their straight and cis-gendered peers, according to Love is Respect. They also face unique challenges that can make it difficult to recognize and leave abusive relationships.
Power and Control in LGBTQ+ Relationships
Abuse is about power. People who abuse their partners use many different tactics to control their relationship.
Roe & Jagodinsky, domestic violence advocates, adjusted the original Power and Control Wheel to reflect what is seen in abusive LGBTQ+ relationships. Some of these control tactics abusers use can be invalidating their partner’s identity, threatening to “out” (reveal that their partner is LGBTQ+) to others, saying coming forward about the abuse will put the community in a “bad light,” or using cultural or legal norms to threaten their safety.
It isn’t always safe to be openly LGBTQ+ and this fear can make it incredibly difficult to find support and resources when someone is being abused.
What can we do?
Recognizing that abuse can happen in any relationship, openly talking about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like, and believing survivors who come forward are the first steps to helping someone realize their relationship may not be healthy.
Domestic Violence agencies across the nation, including DOVE Center, are working to create informed practices to better serve LGBTQ+ survivors who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence.
Resources for LGBTQ+ Survivors
Researching and promoting resources that are inclusive of or specific to the LGBTQ+ community can help survivors find safe spaces to get help.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: provides support to survivors of domestic violence so they can live free of abuse
- Utah Pride Center: a Utah organization to educate and create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community
- Encircle: An LGBT youth and family resource
- DOVE Center 24-Hour Helpline: 435-628-0458
Written by Prevention Educator Ray Vidrine (they/them)