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Abusers may say that disrespectful or violent behavior in a LGBTQ relationship is normal, but it’s not. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer (LGBTQ) youth have healthy relationships at similar rates and in much the same way as heterosexual couples.

LGBTQ: What the Letters Mean
  • Lesbian: A woman who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to other women.

  • Gay: 
    A man who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to other men.

  • Bisexual: An individual who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to men and women.

  • Transgender: An inclusive term for people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally or surgically.

  • Transsexual: A person who experiences a mismatch between the sex they were assigned at birth and the sex they identify as being. A transsexual person sometimes undergoes medical treatment to change their physical sex to match their gender identity. Not all transsexual people desire to alter their bodies.

  • Queer:
     In the past, “queer” was a derogatory term, but now some LGBTQ people use it to describe themselves and their community. Others still find it offensive so it’s best to use this word only if the person you are referring to has already identified as queer.

  • Questioning: An person who is still in the process of exploring their sexual identity and who is not ready to apply a label to herself/himself.

A Few More...
  • Out: Being open about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

  • Outing:
     Revealing a person’s sexual orientation without their permission.

  • Sex:
     The “male” or “female” label assigned at birth.

  • Sexual Orientation: Who you’re physically attracted to.

  • Gender: The general public’s ideas about the differences in proper behavior and roles between men and women.

  • Gender Identity: The set of behaviors or roles associated with the gender a person identifies with and presents to the public.

  • Gender Expression:
     The way people express their gender identity to others through behavior and appearance. Transgender people may match their gender expression to the way they feel and not the sex label they were given at birth.

  • Ze: Gender neutral pronoun that can be used instead of "he" or "she."

I Am LGBTQ. Is My Relationship Healthy?
You know your relationship is probably healthy if your partner:
  • * Respects your chosen gender pronouns or name
  • * Respects your boundaries
  • * Gives you space to hang out with friends and family without thinking you’re cheating
  • * Doesn’t take your money or tell you what to buy
  • * Never threatens to out you to people
  • * Never tells you you’re not a "real" lesbian, gay man, trans person, or however you identify because you don’t have sex the way they want you to

My Relationship is Unhealthy or Abusive

If you’re LGBTQ, you can face unique obstacles to seeking help. Know that you are not alone and there are places that can help. 


LGBTQ Abusive Relationships

Everybody deserves a safe and healthy relationship. You may think same-sex couples cannot be in abusive relationships because they are the same gender. That’s not true. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth experience dating abuse at the same rates and in similar ways as heterosexual couples do. In fact, one in three young people -- straight, gay and everyone in between -- experience some form of dating abuse.

Obstacles for LGBTQ Youth to Get Help
Many LGBTQ teens and 20-somethings believe that no one will help them because they are transgender or in a same-sex relationship.

If you’re LGBTQ, you may face additional obstacles when asking for help:

  • Shame or Embarrassment. You may be struggling with your own internalized homophobia or shame about your sexual orientation or gender-identity. Your abusive partner may attempt to use this shame to exert power and control over you.

  • Fear of not Being Believed or Taken Seriously. You may worry that if you report abuse, you will encounter common stereotypes like violence between LGBTQ partners is always mutual, abuse doesn’t occur in lesbian relationships, only the physically bigger partner can be abusive, or LGBTQ relationships are inherently unhealthy. Your partner may exploit this fear, trying to convince you that no one will take an LGBTQ victim seriously.

  • Fear of Retaliation, Harassment, Rejection, or Bullying. If you are not yet “out” to everyone, your abusive dating partner may threaten to tell your secret to people who will make your life more difficult once they know. You may also fear that seeking help will make you a target of public ridicule, retaliation, harassment, or bullying. Your abusive partner may exploit these fears to isolate you and keep you in the relationship.

  • Less Legal Protection.
     You may be unaware that you have legal options for protection -- including obtaining a restraining or protective order. Although laws vary from state to state, and some specifically restrict restraining orders to heterosexual couples, most states have gender-neutral laws that do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Learn about your state’s laws.

    What Should I Look for in a Partner?
    Relationships require respect, trust, and open communication. Whether you’re looking for a relationship or are in one, make sure you and your partner agree on what makes a relationship healthy. It’s not always easy, but you can build a healthy relationship. 

    Look for someone who:
    • * Treats you with respect
    • * Doesn’t make fun of things you like or want to do
    • * Never puts you down
    • * Doesn’t get angry if you spend time with your friends or family
    • * Listens to your ideas and comprises sometimes
    • * Isn't excessively negative
    • * Shares some of your interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing, or music
    • * Isn’t afraid to share his/her thoughts and feelings
    • * Is comfortable around your friends and family
    • * Is proud of your accomplishments and successes
    • * Respects your boundaries and does not abuse technology
    • * Doesn’t require you to "check in" and doesn't need to know where you are at all times
    • * Is caring and honest
    • * Doesn’t pressure you to do things that you don’t want to do
    • * Doesn’t constantly accuse you of cheating or being unfaithful
    • * Encourages you to do well in school or at work
    • * Doesn’t threaten you or make you feel scared
    • * Understands the importance of healthy relationships

    Remember that a relationship consists of two people. Both you and your partner should have equal say and should never be afraid to express how you feel. 

    Every relationship has arguments and disagreements sometimes -- this is normal. How you choose to deal with your disagreements is what really counts. Both partners should work hard to communicate effectively.