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About Abuse

LGBTQ Victims

August 31, 2009

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or transsexual and queer or questioning. “Lesbian,” “gay,” and “bisexual” are terms used to identify people who experience sexual attraction to partners of the same gender, sometimes along with attraction to partners of the opposite gender. These terms describe sexual orientations or sexual identities. The “Q”, which stands for “queer” or “questioning” was once considered a derogatory term, but now is more commonly used in the community in a positive way to include the wide diversity of people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identities are other than the majority.

Transgender and transsexual people have gender identities that in some way do not fit into the sex they were assigned at birth.  For example, a transman could be a person who was born with female body parts and now identifies as male.  Trans people may also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or may identify as heterosexual.  To learn more about the trans community visit the Gender Identify Project

How common is domestic violence in the LGBTQ community?

The rate of domestic violence and statistics about abuse within the LGBTQ community are difficult to determine because of the high number of unreported cases.  However, the 2010 National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Survey found that 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 26% of gay men, and 37% of bisexual men experience domestic violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.*  Some studies show that up to 50% of transgender women experience intimate partner violence.**

Despite similar rates of domestic violence in the LGBTQ community compared to the heterosexual community, LGBTQ people face barriers to leaving abusive relationships that heterosexual victims often do not.  Domestic violence is most commonly thought of as something that happens to women by their male partners; therefore, most services are geared towards helping heterosexual women, which can make LGBTQ victims feel even more isolated and misunderstood than they may already because of their minority status.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2014
** Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Abuse Among LGBT People - A Review of Existing Research (2015)