Individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer* (LGBTQ) often experience discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Institutions and establishments in mainstream U.S. society have discriminated against, ignored the experiences and needs, and even erased the histories of those who do not identify as heterosexual or with the gender assigned to them at birth. This rigid perspective on sexuality and gender has limited the reach of research, resources, and services available to the LGBTQ communities in general and also in relation to experiences of domestic violence.
The limited research available on domestic violence in the LGBTQ communities finds that LGBTQ identified individuals experience domestic and sexual violence at the same or elevated rates to non-LGBTQ people. However, LGBTQ individuals often face additional challenges and barriers in reporting domestic violence and seeking intervention services. Among these barriers are unintended outing, discrimination by reporting agencies, additional harassment, and a lack of culturally responsive services that may revictimize those who identify as LGBTQ by creating a hostile environment. Additionally, the scarcity of violence prevention efforts that target or account for the experiences of LGBTQ communities results in low levels of awareness of the prevalence and impact of domestic and sexual violence, inadequate screening and assessment, and unresponsive intervention and prevention programming in many communities. This can be further compounded by added layers of oppression commonly experienced by LGBTQ identified individuals due to other marginalized identities. Everyone who experiences domestic violence deserves a safe space for reporting and receiving needed services and prevention efforts must be inclusive of everyone. This collection provides resources to aid in creating that safer space for all LGBTQ individuals.
The information provided in this special collection offers an overview of research and resources that are currently available on preventing and responding to domestic violence within the LGBTQ communities. Resources provided in this special collection are especially relevant to organizations and individuals who want to increase their capacity to provide culturally responsive intervention services to the LGBTQ-identified individuals who have experienced domestic violence and to those who want to work with LGBTQ communities on prevention strategies.
This special collection draws from the work of many leaders around the United States who focus specifically on the issue of domestic violence against LGBTQ communities. We want to specifically highlight the work on a national level that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), The Northwest Network, The Network/La Red, and FORGE have done on behalf of these communities. Additionally, a list of organizations who also work on behalf of preventing and/or intervening in domestic violence in the LGBTQ communities is provided at the end of this special collection.
This collection was developed by staff of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse in consultation with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and complements the parallel collection, Sexual Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, or Queer (LGBTIQ) Communities. We intend to update this special collection regularly and add new resources as they become available.
PLEASE NOTE: With any personal identity the language chosen by the individual to describe their identity is of the utmost importance. Language that one individual uses to describe their sexual or gender identity can be considered offensive to the next. Definitions for these identities are not fixed and are always changing in meaning, both in society and by individuals.