Variety of Stereotypes LGBT Community

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There are a variety of stereotypes that revolve around the LGBTQ community. More specifically, there are numerous stereotypes involving relationships. These stereotypes usually invalidate the problems that can transpire within the relationship. People often believe that the abuse that lies within the relationship is not as serious as heterosexual abuse; they often perceive it as play fighting. They would say things such as, “it’s not that serious girls fight all the time,” or “girls are so understanding and sweet it would be impossible for them to fight ever.” Not only does this misconception happen in lesbian relationships, but it is also prevalent in gay relationships. Although people accept the idea that there can be abuse in gay relationships, they often overlook it and forget about it.

Contrary to these beliefs, it is reported by ncadv.org that 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced physical violence, rape, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. This can be compared to the 35% possibility that heterosexual women have. The stereotypes of gay relationships have also been combated with statistics. It is reported that 37.3% of bisexual men and 26% of gay men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. This can also be compared to the lower statistic of 29% of heterosexual men going through the same problems (ncadv.org). It is also reported that transgender victims are more likely to experience intimate partner violence in public, in comparison to those that do not identify as transgender.

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This stigma on LGBTQ+ relationships can defeat one’s confidence in the legitimacy of their case against their abusive partner. There are numerous other reasons as to why a victim would be hesitant to seek help. As read from an article on loveisrespect.org, there could be several possible obstacles that are stopping a victim from going out to get help. They could be experiencing embarrassment, they could have a fear of not being taken seriously, they could also believe that they are lessening the respect the community already gets, which is barely any. Regarding communities, you could be in fear of losing your own personal group, or even the LGBTQ community as a whole. Also, they could be scared of blackmailing, retaliation, or bullying. Not only that, but there are also legal concerns; there could be a fear of less legal protection.

It is very likely that someone could be too embarrassed to receive help in an abusive relationship in the LGBTQ community. One of the underlying problems that develop the embarrassment is internalized homophobia. According to culturalbridgestojustice.org, internal homophobia can be defined as, “ the involuntary belief by lesbians and gay men that the homophobic lies, stereotypes and myths about them (that are delivered to everyone in a heterosexist / homophobic society) ARE TRUE.” This internalized homophobia can cause the abuser to have control over the victim. The abuser could then manipulate their victim by degrading them with the very thing they are insecure of, their sexuality. The victim could be so manipulated by their own self hatred that it would cause them to not be able to seek help. It’s one thing to hate who you are already, but then to be shamed by your own partner and have to admit it to authorities or anyone for that matter can truly be humiliating.

There is a fear of not being taken serious. The stigma revolving LGBTQ relationships can truly cause a victim to be hesitant in reporting their abuser. For example, in a lesbian relationship there could be a more “masculine” female that is getting abused by a more feminine partner. Being labeled as the more “masculine” female implies that they are the dominant partner, making it more unbelievable to strangers. Common comments can vary from, “Aren’t you the man in the relationship? How are you getting abused?” to, “you’re stronger than her, is it really that serious?” These are actual comments I have personally heard from people in my old friend group. Another example is the stigma that the physically bigger partner is the only one that could be abusive. In gay relationships, there can be a bigger man between the two. This obviously bigger man could be the one experiencing abuse, but due to the fact that he is bigger it is less believable that he would be getting abused. The bigger partner might be fearful that police or friends would not take this claim seriously and brush it off as his partner just nagging or being upset. No one steps back and realizes that if it were flipped it would be taken more seriously.

It is difficult to go out and get help for victims, it is even more difficult when you feel guilty for doing it. The LGBTQ community is already looked down upon, the victim could then start to believe that they are doing more harm than good by reporting something negative within the community. Just recently, I had a conversation with a family member that said there are too many mentally ill people in the LGBTQ community, I then replied that the heterosexual community has mentally ill people in the community too. They seemed to disregard that and still find a way to look down on the community by saying that it doesn’t, “help their case.” This victim could easily hear a conversation like this and be even more discouraged to come out and potentially bring harm to the LGBTQ communitys’ reputation.

If you were to admit to getting abused in a relationship, you would have to admit you were in a relationship of the same sex. This may be an issue for someone that belongs to a religion or group of people who are not accepting. Reporting to the police could be the same as outing yourself to these victims. If your community revolves around religious people, you also have no one to go to. Even if you have LGBTQ friends, you could be in an unlucky predicament where those friends also happen to be friends with your abuser. Once you confide in someone they could all turn on you or the abuser could also manipulate their way out of it. These sound like specific scenarios that outsiders believe are unlikely to happen, but fear makes a person think of every consequence that could happen if they do something risky.

Blackmail is a popular abuse technique that happens in abusive relationships. Abusers often can use the victims sexuality against them and threaten to “out,” them if the victim isn’t open about their sexuality. This does not only apply for sexual orientation but it can also apply to exposing their gender identity. There are transgenders that are not as open as others, abusers can easily work off of this and trap someone. The victim is then stuck because of this fear, they often think about their reputation being tarnished. It is difficult being transgender in this society and the outing of this fact could cause serious problems for the victim. As read from womenagainstabuse.org. these problems range from losing friends, not being accepted in their faith communities, and experiencing discrimination at work.

Going to the police is a big step in reporting abuse because majority of victims are too afraid to take that final step. When they do take that final step, they could run into problems with the law and authority. As stated in an article posted on protectamerica.com, it is common for police to lack the knowledge and skills to properly handle the situation. In a situation where the victim finally comes forward and seeks justice, their efforts could be all put to waste when an ill trained police officer simply gives the abuser a slap on the wrist because of the common belief that lesbians barely fight and it could just be a cat fight. Also, there could be another assumption about the more masculine woman; it can be misconstrued that they are the abuser since they are perceived to be the more dominant partner (Protect America). There is also an unlucky circumstance where the victim resides in a country or state that is less accepting of gays, making it more difficult to get legal help.

Abuse in the LGBTQ community is often overlooked. The fact that it is not taken seriously is detrimental to the community and only makes the members more at risk. It is a fact that heterosexual abuse is taken more seriously and is also more talked about. The common stereotypes on gay, lesbian, and transgender relationships are dangerous to millions of lives. It is important to validate these problems and put aside the common belief that abuse does not occur in lesbian relationships, or that the physically bigger partner or more dominant looking partner is more obviously the abuser. When these relationships are taken more seriously and investigated just as a heterosexual relationship would be, I believe that there would be less anxiety and more ease on reporting abuse in the LGBTQ community.

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Variety of Stereotypes LGBT Community. (2019, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/variety-of-stereotypes-lgbt-community/