Know the Laws:
UPDATED June 21, 2012
Information on domestic violence among same-sex partners in the LGBTQ community.
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.*
Transgender and transsexual people have gender identities and/or sexual orientations that in some way do not fit into the stereotypical male-female gender roles. For example, a transman could be a person who was born with female body parts and now identifies as male. To learn more about the trans community visit the Gender Identify Project “What is Transgendered?”.
The “Q”, which stands for “queer” or “questioning” was once considered a derogatory term, but a recent movement to reclaim the world uses it in a positive way to include the wide diversity of people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identities are other than the norm.*
* National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “LGBT Communities and Domestic Violence."
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 available statistics suggest that domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships occurs at a similar rate as in heterosexual relationships: approximately a quarter of women in heterosexual relationships are victims of domestic abuse.*
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 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 heterosexuals, which can make LGBTQ victims feel even more isolated and misunderstood than they may already because of their minority status.
* National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “LGBT Communities and Domestic Violence.”