Man with a serious expression on his face LGBTQ Community

Regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, every person deserves to feel safe, respected, and loved in an intimate relationship.

You are not alone

If you’re in an abusive relationship, you are not alone.

  • 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men experience domestic violence compared to 29 percent of heterosexual men.
  • 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35 percent of straight women.
  • LGBTQ people of color are nearly four times as likely to experience physical violence.
  • 1 in 2 trans people has experienced sexual violence and over half experience some form of intimate partner violence, including coercive control and physical violence.

Signs of abuse

Many of the warning signs of domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships are similar to those in cisgender heterosexual relationships, including emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, physical violence, or sexual assault.

However, abusers in LGBTQ relationships will also use other tactics to assert power and control over their partners. If you’re unsure whether or not your relationship is abusive, ask yourself if your significant other:

  • Threatens to “out” your sexual orientation or gender identity to family members, employers, community members, or others.
  • Makes you feel unworthy of love and support because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Threatens to reveal your HIV/AIDS status to family members, employers, community members, or others.
  • Limits your access to medicine, including hormones or PrEP/PEP.
  • Makes you feel like you’re not “really” lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender because of your relationship history.
  • Makes you feel that you’re not the gender you identify with or purposefully misgenders you.
  • Refuses to use your preferred name or pronoun.
  • Makes you feel like you’re not a “real” man or woman.
  • Justifies the abuse as consensual, mutual, or an expression of a “desirable” trait, such as masculinity.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to seek support and help with your relationship. LifeWire’s services are open to everyone experiencing abuse.

LGBTQ specific resources

The NW Network: The NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country.

Forge: FORGE is a national transgender anti-violence organization.

If you need help or resources, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 425-746-1940 or send us a message.