During the month of June, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) Pride Month —we’re celebrating LGBTQ survivors and working to raise awareness of domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships.
It is a myth that domestic violence only occurs in heterosexual couples, and the victims are female. According to the Human Rights Commission, 44% percent of lesbian women and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by current or former intimate partner. 40% of gay men and 47% of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence. Because of the myths and misconceptions about the rate of relationship violence in non-heterosexual relationships, the LGBT community often faces uniquely challenging barriers to accessing support.
Each survivor has unique needs and experiences that require individualized support. Across all La Casa services, whether it’s responding to callers 24/7/365 on our hotlines, providing individual counseling and advocacy, or supporting residents in our Emergency Shelter program, our staff and volunteers are trained to provide support around some of the more unique barriers and challenges an LGBTQ survivor may face. As a part of the 40 hour domestic violence counselor training, and through ongoing discussion and training, La Casa’s team engages in learning specific to supporting LGBTQ survivors.
As with all survivors, safety planning is a critical component—helping the person think about how to stay safe within the context of their situation, whether it’s when the violence escalates with their current partner, if encountering an abusive ex-partner on the street, or when creating an emergency bag in case fleeing becomes necessary. For LGBTQ survivors, safety planning can include other specific considerations. For instance, for a transgender survivor who is taking hormones as part of her transition from male to female, including hormones in her emergency bag may be important to her ability to maintain her identity as she seeks safety. Or, because LGBTQ communities can be small and tight-knit, with few gathering places, safety planning about where it’s now safe to go may be important to a survivor who has left their abusive partner. Advocates at La Casa support all clients in exploring their unique needs, thinking about their safety, and connecting with empowering resources and information.
For LGBTQ supportive domestic violence services call us 24/7/365 at 1-877-503-1850.