LGBTQA+ Domestic Violence

Intimate partner violence can build up over the years or because of recent hardships. Does domestic battery affect LGBTQA+ couples? What are the statistics? If you are accused of domestic battery, what are your legal options? Let’s take a look.


Domestic violence is an incredibly charged issue, and many people make assumptions about intimate partner violence. For example, most people are inclined to assume that heterosexual women are the primary victims of domestic violence. Not only is this untrue, but the assumption fails to acknowledge the widespread nature of abuse among couples of all genders and sexualities.

Another common myth is that psychological violence is not as devastating as physical abuse. The truth is, psychological abuse can leave scars long after the physical evidence has faded away.

Psychological abuse may include:

  • Name-calling
  • Humiliation
  • Excessive control
  • Threats
  • Stalking

For LGBTQA+ individuals, threatening to “out” them to friends and family is a terrifyingly effective way to exert control and administer abuse. While many people are open about their sexuality, a large number of queer-identifying individuals have not revealed their sexuality to their loved ones. Using sexuality as a weapon is cruel and just as devastating as physical abuse, if not more so.

It’s also easy to assume that the physically stronger or male/male presenting partner is the abuser. In reality, intimate partner violence is often indiscriminate of gender. Male/male presenting people can become victims just as easily and frequently as female/female presenting partners. Additionally, nonbinary and gender-fluid people can also become trapped in an abusive relationships.

The Evidence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) provided a list of statistics regarding intimate partner violence among LGBTQA+ couples.

  • In 2012, less than 5% of LGBTQA+ survivors of domestic violence sought out a restraining order
  • Bisexual victims are more likely to experience intimate partner violence than those who do not identify as bisexual
  • 43.8% of lesbian women have experienced sexual, physical, and/or psychological abuse from a partner
  • LGBTQA+ Black/African American victims are more likely to experience domestic violence
  • 15% of queer-identifying people have been victims of psychological abuse from a partner
  • Transgender individuals may be referred to with offensive pronouns like “it” as a form of abuse
  • 26% of gay men have experienced sexual, physical, and/or psychological abuse

Legal Measures

The most crucial factor in LGBTQA+ domestic violence cases is understanding what identity-based abuse is. In general, abusers believe they are superior to their partners and will use perceived “weaknesses” as leverage for their abuse.

Identity-based tactics may include:

  • Demanding obedience
  • Stereotyping a romantic partner
  • Preventing a partner from connecting with their cultural, religious, or queer community
  • Expectations of unlimited access to a partner’s body
  • Unilateral decision making
  • Constant ridicule or invalidation of their partner’s identity (race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, etc.)

It’s also crucial to consider the context. For example, in a heterosexual relationship, sexual health is an uncommon tool of abuse. However, in some LGBTQA+ relationships, HIV/AIDS diagnoses may be weaponized for psychological suffering.

What Happens If You Are Accused of Domestic Abuse?

Few domestic violence cases go to court, but the case often becomes emotionally charged when they do. Emotions run high, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. While domestic battery is a grim reality for millions of people, many individuals are ostracized due to wrongful allegations.

If you are accused of intimate partner violence, you must avoid explaining the situation to friends, family, and law enforcement. While you may understand what happened, other people weren’t there and didn’t know the dynamics of your relationship. That’s why you must always enlist the help of a qualified attorney.

Schedule a consultation with Johnson Law Group today to find out more about your rights and options in an LGBTQA+ domestic violence case.

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