Special aspects of LGBTQ+ domestic abuse
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.