What is LGBTQ Abuse?

Abuse within LGBTQ relationships is not any more or less common than in heterosexual, cisgender relationships. It occurs at the same rate as in heterosexual/cisgender relationships. However, some of the tactics an abuser may use could look different for LGBTQ partners. For example, if someone is not fully open about his or her sexuality, an abuser may threaten to "out" that person if he or she leaves. Also, domestic violence within the LGBTQ community is not less dangerous or less serious because the partners are the same gender. Relationships between two men or two women are more equal.

Who Does LGBTQ Abuse Affect?

As with other types of domestic violence, anyone can be a victim of abuse, no matter their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, education, or income level. However, there is evidence that LGBTQ people, such as transgender women of color, face an increased risk of violence within intimate relationships.

In addition, it may be especially challenging for an LGBTQ person to receive services. Coming forward about the abuse may mean coming out about or disclosing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, and that may be difficult or unsafe for the individual to do.

Domestic violence hurts people in all kinds of relationships. The victim may be part of a small LGBTQ community and fear that "everyone" will know about his or her abuse. Some service providers may have a bias against LGBTQ people, making it difficult to access resources safely. Safe Voices is committed to providing a safe space for LGBTQ individuals to find support and safety.


Power and Control: Domestic violence is about power and control, not physical strength. Power and control can include physical violence, but most often it involves emotional, psychological, and economic abuse.

Power & Control Wheel Developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs of Duluth, Minnesota.

Red Flags - Abuse may include but are not limited to, if your partner:

  • Call or text you all the time
  • Tell you who you can and can't see
  • Tell you what to wear
  • Call you names
  • Put you down
  • Discourage you from doing things on your own
  • Make you feel guilty for spending time with other people
  • Threaten to hurt you or friends and family
  • Abuse your pets
  • Get jealous when you are in the company of the opposite (or same) sex
  • Try to prevent you from working or going to school
  • Control all of the money that comes in
  • Pressure you to do things that you do not want to do
  • Control your access to transportation, including the family car
  • Show up at your workplace or school and cause a scene in front of other people
  • Repeatedly make promises that the abuse will never happen again
  • Belittle your parenting skills in front of your children
  • Try to turn your children against you
  • Make you feel like everything is your fault when arguments happen
  • Make you feel like you can't do anything right
  • Minimize your feelings and not listen to you
  • Gaslight you by questioning your version or events

If you answered YES to any of these questions or are experiencing any of the stalking behaviors listed above, you can call our confidential, toll-free, 24-hour helpline to speak to an advocate at 1-800-559-2927.


Our advocates can help you:

  • Recognize the signs of an abusive relationship
  • Provide support and talk to you about resources available in your community
  • Discuss safety planning and your options for protection afforded by the law such as filing a protection from abuse order
  • Explore shelter options if you are unsafe in your current residence