Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer people are subject to the same spectrum of sexual violence as their heterosexual peers. Research confirms that BGLTQ individuals are at greater risk for being victimized by acts of sexual violence, likely due to cultural attitudes of homophobia and myths about violence in the BGLTQ community.
Violence in the queer community in many cases still relies on traditional gender tropes. Masculinity is practiced or emulated in harmful ways and prioritized over other, feminine qualities. Devaluing alternative expressions of gender perpetuates unsafe living conditions for trans* and gender non-conforming individuals and enables homophobia.
"Girls can't rape girls"
In truth, sexual assault can occur between any combination of genders. The misconception that 'real' sex requires penetration diminishes the significance of all other types of sexual intimacy and discounts that all of these acts can be perpetrated without the consent of the other partner, resulting in sexual assault.
"A fight between two men is a fair one"
In any relationship between people of any gender, a physical fight is an unhealthy incident. In most cases there is an aggressor, the person who initiated physical contact. Whether or not two people are of the same gender, same size, same strength, does not preclude them from engaging in tactics of power and control to hurt their partner.
Barriers to services and reporting
- Abusers might attempt to wield control by threatening to "out" the survivor to friends, family or employers.
- Fear they will not be believed if they report an incident
- Fear they will lose the support of their community
- Fear that reporting the crime to the police or local agencies will expose them to discrimination, homophobia, or gender policing.
- You have the right to present your gender however you choose.
- You have the right to have your correct name and pronoun respected.
- You have the right to engage in romantic and intimate relationships with people of any gender.
- You have the right to safety in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, or threats of harassment or intimidation.
- You have the right to knowledgeable and respectful healthcare providers.
There are limited resources available to BGLTQ survivors in terms of culturally-competent, intersectional counseling, safe and affordable housing accommodations, and accessible medical care. OSAPR is available to support all survivors and assist in navigating these resources. Call our hotline at 617-495-9100 or make an appointment.
Additionally, we suggest any of the following agencies/organizations for off-campus care.
- The Fenway Community Health Center - Violence Recovery Program, 16 Haviland Street, Boston MA 671-267-0159
- GLBT Domestic Violence Program, 955 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138, 1-800-831-1901
- The Network/La Red, advocacy for ending abuse in BGLTQ, poly-amorous and SM communities. 1-800-742-4911
- National Center for Transgender Equality, 202-642-4542
- Transgender Law Center, Legal Assistance: Danny Kirchoff, Client Advocate, 415-865-0176 x306
For additional university offices, local agencies, and national organizations, check out our Resources section.
For more information on recent research check out, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010), National Violence Against Women Survey and Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.