Abuse among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) youth occurs at the same rates and in similar ways as heterosexual youth. One in three young people — gay, straight, and everyone in between — experiences some form of dating abuse.
Still, LGBTQ+ teens and young adults may face abuse and barriers to accessing support based on specific prejudices against their gender expression or sexuality.
Additional obstacles LGBTQ+ youth often face
Internal conflict or embarrassment
You may be dealing with your own internalized homophobia in the process of learning to love who you really are. Abusive partners often attempt to exploit this internal conflict to exert power and control over you.
Common examples of such abuse include: name-calling or insults that play on your insecurities, refusal to respect your pronouns or chosen name, attempts to shame you over how you have sex, or efforts to out you in front of others.
Fear of not being believed or taken seriously
You might be afraid that if you report abuse, you’ll run into common stereotypes about LGBTQ+ relationships used to minimize abusive behavior (like that violence between LGBTQ+ partners is mutual or that LGBTQ+ relationships are inherently unhealthy). Abusive partners may try to exploit this fear by convincing you that you won’t be taken seriously if you try to get help.
Homophobia and other forms of LGBTQ+ discrimination are undeniably present throughout society, but many service providers offer support specifically intended for LGBTQ+ survivors. Connect with us via text, phone, or live chat to talk to one of our advocates about LGBTQ+ service referrals. We’re committed to always listening without judgement and helping you brainstorm ways to make your own best decision.
Varied legal protections
You may choose to pursue legal recourse to try and stop your partner’s abuse, whether through a restraining order, protective order, or criminal prosecution. Laws vary from state to state and some state governments specifically restrict restraining orders to heterosexual couples, but most have laws that don’t make distinctions.
Find out how your state stacks up by checking out The Hotline’s impact and state reports.
Loss of community
Isolation is a common tactic of abuse used to increase a victim’s dependence on their abuser and limit their access to help. If you belong to a religious community, traditional family, oppressive home environment, or just aren’t out publicly yet, fear of disclosing your sexual orientation could prevent you from seeking help or threaten to make the situation worse.
Depending on your circumstances, a small or close-knit LGBTQ+ community could also make it feel like no one will support you if your abuser is well-liked.
You deserve to be in a healthy and loving relationship, and you deserve to be able to express yourself to a sympathetic listener.
Contact us 24/7 to talk about your situation confidentially and figure out ways to get help.