Sexual violence affects every demographic and every community – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Sexual assault is not defined by the gender of the person offending or the victim. Anyone is capable of assaulting a person of any gender. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Studies suggest that around half of transgender people and bisexual women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes.
The vast majority of perpetrators that commit assaults continue to be males. Sometimes it is difficult for a lesbian to discern if her assault was motivated by anti-lesbian violence or simply because she is a woman. Same-sex sexual assault may include forced vaginal or anal penetration, forced oral sex, forced touching, or any other type of forced sexual activity. Same-sex sexual assault can happen on a date, between friends, partners, or strangers.
As a community, LGBTQ people face higher rates of poverty, stigma, and marginalization, which put us at greater risk for sexual assault. We also face higher rates of hate-motivated violence, which can often take the form of sexual assault. Moreover, the ways in which society both hypersexualizes LGBTQ people and stigmatizes our relationships can lead to intimate partner violence that stems from internalized homophobia and shame.
Yet, as a community, we rarely talk about how sexual violence affects us or what our community’s unique needs are when it comes to preventing sexual assault and supporting and caring for survivors of sexual violence. Because of prejudices LGBTQ+ often face, same-sex victims are less likely than opposite-sex victims to report their assault to the police or seek support.
If you are the victim of sexual violence we are here to help you.
Sexual assault is not defined by the gender. Sexual violence crosses the gender and sexuality spectrum. As more bravely come forward to share their stories individuals are being held accountable for their violence.
44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of heterosexual women
26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29% of heterosexual men
46% of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17% of heterosexual women and 13% of lesbians
22% of bisexual women have been raped by an intimate partner, compared to 9 percent of heterosexual women
40% of gay men and 47% of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape, compared to 21% of heterosexual men