LGBTQ is an acronym that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people. Many LGBTQ survivors face unique contexts that affect the abuse they experience. For example, some LGBTQ survivors are at an increased risk of social isolation because of weaker ties with their biological family and limited access to LGBTQ communities in their area. LGBTQ people, and especially those identifying as trans and gender non-conforming, can encounter significant barriers when navigating gender-specific social service spaces, especially shelter programs and support groups. Domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships also requires providers to carefully assess who may be experiencing and perpetrating violence in the relationship, since the gender of the person seeking help provides little information about the relationship dynamic.
It is important to recognize that providers may not know when they’re working with an LGBTQ person. Not all LGBTQ survivors disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity when seeking services. Other factors such as race, ethnicity, economic status, immigration status and ability will influence a survivor’s experience of domestic violence and their willingness to disclose their sexual and/or gender identity when seeking services. Creating an inclusive environment that uses a strength-based approach and builds on the resilience, wisdom and tenacity of LGBTQ survivors increases the potential for survivors to be self-determined, heal and move forward.
For a fuller exploration of the complex experiences of LGBTQ survivors, and for access to best practices and approaches to support their healing, self-determination, and safety, we invite you to review this collection of LGBTQ-specific resources: https://vawnet.org/sc/preventing-and-responding-domestic-violence-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-or-queer-lgbtq
The National LGBTQ Institute on IPV is a national resource center that expands the capacities of the DV and LGBTQ movements to better serve LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence. The LGBTQ Institute conducts research, informs policy agendas, and provides training and technical assistance to both mainstream and LGBTQ-specific service providers to improve violence prevention and intervention efforts nationwide. The Institute is a collaboration of The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within LGBTQ communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs, affiliate organizations and individual affiliates who create systemic and social change. The Coalition strives to increase power, safety and resources through data analysis, policy advocacy, education and technical assistance and through partnerships with the National LGBTQ Institute on IPV and the Northwest Network.
The NW Network’s mission is to increase our communities’ ability to support the self-determination and safety of bisexual, transgender, lesbian and gay survivors of abuse through education, organizing and advocacy. We work within a broad liberation movement dedicated to social and economic justice, equality and respect for all people and the creation of loving, inclusive and accountable communities.