LGBTQ people can experience an unhealthy layer of power and control in their relationships given the homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia, and biphobia that is unfortunately too common in their lives.
Specific tactics of power and control* that might impact LGBTQ people include:
- “Outing” a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships may threaten to out victims to family members, employers, community members, and others.
- Saying that no one will help the victim because s/he is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or that for this reason, the partner “deserves” the abuse.
- Justifying the abuse with the notion that a partner is not “really” lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (i.e. the victim may once have had/may still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser’s definitions of these terms). This can be used both as a tool in verbal and emotional abuse, as well as to further the isolation of a victim from the community.
- Monopolizing support resources through an abusive partner’s manipulation of friends and family supports, and generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the victim. This is a particular issue to members of the LGBTQ community where they may be fewer specific resources, neighborhoods, or social outlets.
- Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait.
*This list was shared by the National Domestic Violence Hotline: thehotline.org
For more information, here are some LGBT-specific sexual assault/violence links and resources:
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs This is a NYC organization whose work is about empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.