Today, we will be talking about violence in the LGBTQ+ community. Violence can take on many different forms such as physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, neglect, and verbal and financial abuse. We will take a look at how some of these forms of violence take shape in the queer community.
Violence in the LGBTQ+ community
LGBTQ+ individuals are nearly 4 times as likely to be victims of violent crime compared to non-LGBTQ+ individuals (source). That violence can often be close to home. In 2020, the Williams Institute found that LGBTQ+ people were 6 times more likely to experience violence by someone well known to them (family/friends) compared to non-LGBTQ+ people. Lesbian, bisexual, and trans women are 5 times more likely than non-LBT women to experience violent victimization. The risk of violence for gay, bisexual, and trans men are more than twice that of non-GBT men.
“It is clear that LGBT people are at greater risk of violent victimization, but the question is why. One plausible cause is anti-LGBT prejudice at home, work, or school, which would make LGBT people particularly vulnerable to victimization in numerous areas of their everyday life.” – Lead author Andrew R. Flores, Affiliated Scholar at the Williams Institute.
Violence in our schools
The bi-annual GLSEN School Climate Survey shines a harrowing light on the hostile environments that many LGBTQ+ youth face at school. Think about these statistics in the context of the forms of violence listed above.
The executive summary of this study includes more examples and troubling statistics. In week 6 we will dive deeper into the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in education, but it is important to note the high levels and different types of violence that queer youth experience in schools. One of the most daunting statistics from this School Climate Survey is that 56% of LGBTQ+ students who were harassed or assaulted in school didn’t even report the incident to school staff because they believed either nothing would be done, or it would make the situation worse.
These forms of violence have detrimental effects on LGBTQ+ youth. The leading cause of death for LGBTQ+ people ages 10-24 is suicide. This violence can also play a role in self-acceptance, mental health, homelessness, and academic performance.
Violence in the trans and gender non-conforming community
In 2020, 44 transgender or gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals were shot or killed by other violent means. It was a record-breaking year of violence in the trans/GNC community. 2021 saw that record shattered yet again with at least* 51 trans/GNC people meeting a violent end. Most of these victims were people of color.
“The violence and discrimination that transgender people experience is deeply intersectional, with different forms of vulnerability shaped by race, gender, class, ability, and nationality, among other factors. In 2020, more than three-quarters of the transgender and non-binary people killed in the United States were people of color, with Black transgender women at particular risk of violence. From 2016 to 2021, at least 88 percent of the transgender people killed in Florida, 91 percent of the transgender people killed in Ohio, and 90 percent of the transgender people killed in Texas were people of color.” Read the full article, “I Just Try to Make it Home Safe,” below.
*Here, “at least” is used to refer to the fact that many of these stories go unreported or misreported. Sometimes media outlets or local police departments misgender or even deadname (calling someone by their birth name when they have changed their name) trans/GNC people in their reporting.
2021 Officially Becomes Worst Year in Recent History for LGBTQ State Legislative Attacks as Unprecedented Number of States Enact Record-Shattering Number of Anti-LGBTQ Measures Into Law, Human Rights Campaign (May 7, 2021). (9 minutes)
Walking in your truth as an LGBT Youth (8 minutes)
LGBT Americans target of violent hate crimes more than any other group, PBS (June 13, 2016). (8 minutes)
LGBT Youth Homelessness and Survival Sex (15 minutes)
LGBTQueering the Narrative of Sexual Violence (14 minutes)
How can the fear of violence affect the day-to-day lives of LGBTQ+ individuals?
Have you ever had to consider if you will be safe at a certain grocery store, community event, or while traveling to different cities?
If yes, how might you understand those fears as different or similar to the LGBTQ+ community?
What actions can you take to reduce one or more of these types of violence the queer community encounters?