"This isn't abuse. Abuse doesn't happen in lesbian relationships. We are equal."
How common is abuse in same-sex relationships?
Emotional abuse cuts across all classes and cultures, and is believed to be just as common in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) relationships as in heterosexual relationships. Moreover, LGBT persons face additional hurdles: there are limited specific support services available for LBGT individuals and many are uncomfortable using the general resouces offered on campus or in the community, for fear of being discriminated against or misunderstood. LBGT individuals are also often unwilling to admit to themselves that abuse can occur in same-sex relationships. Given the small size of the queer community in a city such as Kingston, people experiencing abuse may also feel unable to tell friends about the problems they are having, since the abusive partner is often a member of the same community. Thus LGBT individuals in unhealthy relationships can easily find themselves isolated and often find it difficult to get the support and help they need.
"Maybe things will get better if I try harder..."
For a long time, abuse in LGBT relationships was not recognised, or was minimised, both by the helping professions and by LGBT communities. Relationship conflicts were dismissed as being "mutually abusive", especially in gay relationships. Violence in lesbian couples was considered to be less severe than in heterosexual relationships, based on the assumption that women cannot inflict severe physical harm to another person. We now know that this is false. Abuse, whether it is emotional or physical, is always damaging, and is always a warning of potential escalation to physical violence and severe injuries.
"He's the only person who knows I'm bisexual..."
Human Rights Office Main Page
General Information | Policy & Procedure | Anti-Racism | Sexual Harassment
Sexual & Gender Diversity | Stop It Program | Positive Space Program
Transgender/Transsexual Policy Group | The End to Hate Project
Important Faith Dates | Dear Jen | Human Rights Initiative Award