As a member of the LGBT+ community, I recognize that it is nearly impossible to get any information pertaining to same-sex relationships of any kind, wether sexual or romantic in nature. As an LGBT youth I also acknowledge that our relationship are faced with much more outside pressure to begin with, despite being statistically more likely to face abuse. In curriculums around the country, homosexual sex-ed is barely taught, and despite the changing climate of LGBT issues, people are still unwilling to discuss same-sex relationships in any and all contexts. Our culture is one rightly named “rape culture,” a vicious cycle of victim shaming and lack of available resources and information about sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Both straight and same-sex abuse are similar in many characteristics, from the kind of abuse most likely to occur (physiological), or the fact that physical and sexual abuse is likely to co-occur.
Domestic violence in same-sex relationships has it’s own important distinctions, most stemming from the societal pressures of the relationship as a whole. Abuse comes from abuse, and as many members of the LGBT community have been emotionally or physically abused because of their sexuality, they are therefor more likely to become abusers. Gay and lesbian victims face the additional threat of being “outed,” leaving them fearing isolation from family and friends, and facing discrimination. Gay and lesbian victims are less likely to even report their abuse in fear of being outed, or even in fear of disgracing their community by creating a view of same-sex relationships as increasingly dysfunctional and dangerous.
The societal stereotype of male abuser and female survivor does not fit into same-sex couples either, leaving victims with an authoritative system without the knowledge to understand and deal with homosexual abuse, without resources to help get them out of abusive relationships, and without even the legal recognition needed to protect them from their abuser and even further abuse.
To understand same-sex abuse, our society must first take a look at it’s response to heterosexual abuse, it’s stereotypical views on gender roles and sexuality, and their normalization of rape through the validation of male sexuality and pursuit of feminine bodies as a “right of passage.” In the meantime, the stories of victims everywhere are silenced and reversed to fit our societal views, gay men are turned out of safe spaces for sexual assault victims, and queer youth are at a 33% (or higher) risk of assault in their own relationships, never mind the plundering of young bodies on the streets.
The only way to end this stigma and heal these injustices is together. We are stronger together. We cannot allow the pressure of heteronormativity and society rip our community apart, because while we fight the people we should be fighting with, the people with the power take advantage. It’s time we take back our identities and our bodies for good.