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Domestic abuse may be experienced by anyone, but there are some specific issues that may feature in the experiences of LGBTQ+ people.

The abuser may:

  • Undermine one’s sense of gender or sexual identity.
  • Threaten to disclose sexual orientation or gender identity to family, friends, or work colleagues.
  • Limit or control access to spaces and networks relevant to coming out.
  • Use society’s heterosexist myths about gay people to manipulate and convince their partner that no one will believe the abuse is real.
  • Manipulate their partner into believing that abuse is a ‘normal’ part of same-sex relationships.
  • Threaten to call the police and claim they are the abused person.
  • Pressure their partner to conceal or minimise abuse to protect the image of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • If the abused partner is living in the UK on a spousal visa, abuser might threaten to see them deported back to their country of origin, which might be unsafe due to e.g. anti-gay legislation.


With specific reference to trans persons, the abuser may:

  • Withhold medication or interfere with treatment needed to express a victim’s gender identity (e.g. hormones, surgery) or coerce them into not pursuing such treatment.
  • Refuse to use correct pronouns and prevent the abused from telling other people about their trans background or identity.
  • Use pejorative names and ridicule one’s body image (body shaming), voice-quality, dress, etc.
  • Manipulate their partner into believing that nobody would believe them because they’re transgender.


The abused may:

  • Believe they ‘deserve’ the abuse because of internalised negative beliefs (homophobia/biphobia/transphobia) and stereotypes.
  • Experience feelings of intense isolation where family support is lacking or reactions are hostile. 61% of LGBTQ+ young people have experienced some form of abuse in their families/home.
  • Be made to feel ashamed of their sexuality and identity.
  • Suppose no help is available due to experienced or assumed homo/bi/ transphobia within support services and the criminal justice system.

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