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LGBTQ+ Power & Control

Abusive partners in LGBTQ+ relationships use the same tactics to gain power and control as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships — physical, sexual or emotional abuse, economic abuse, isolation and more. However, abusers in LGBTQ+ relationships also leverage specific societal factors that make leaving an LGBTQ+ relationship more complex.

LGBTQ+ Power & Control Tactics: 

-“Outing” a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Abusive partners in LGBTQ+ relationships may threaten to ‘out’ victims to family members, employers, community members and others.

-Saying that no one will help the victim because s/he is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or that for this reason, the partner “deserves” the abuse.

-Justifying the abuse with the notion that a partner is not “really” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (i.e. the victim may once have had/may still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser’s definitions of these terms). This can be used both as a tool in verbal and emotional abuse as well as to further the isolation of a victim from the community.

-Monopolizing support resources through an abusive partner’s manipulation of friends and family supports and generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the victim. This is a particular issue to members of the LGBTQ+ community where they may be fewer specific resources, neighborhoods or social outlets.

-Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait.

If you’re experiencing any of these forms of abuse or feel trapped in a relationship due to any of the above power and control tactics, you’re not alone. Our 24-hour hotline is confidential and staffed with experienced Advocates who can help you navigate your domestic violence situation. Call or email us at 727.895.4912 | TTY 727.828.1269 |

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