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About Abuse

LGBTQ Victims

August 31, 2009

What forms of abuse are unique to LGBTQ victims?

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can occur in any type of relationship, but some other types of abuse happen to LGBTQ individuals.  Here are some of the ways that abusers gain power and control over LGBTQ victims:

  • Threatening to “out” the victim or reveal his/her sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Telling the victim that no one will help him/her or that s/he deserves the abuse because of his/her gender identity or sexual orientation;
  • Denying the victim’s identity by saying that at some point his/her behavior or identity did not conform to the abuser's definition of any label the victim chooses to use (e.g. Saying to a man, "You've had a relationship with a woman, so you're not really gay.");
  • Telling the victim that the abuse is a “normal” part of a same-sex relationship;
  • Telling the victim that the abuse cannot be domestic violence because it is taking place between LGBTQ individuals;
  • Claiming that the abuse is an expression of some "desirable" trait. (e.g., "This is just me being butch, which is why you like me.")*

* This information has been adapted from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs - see "Special Issues in LGBTQ Violence"