Men beat women up, physically, mentally, emotionally. Women victimize men, physically, mentally, emotionally. Men do the same to men, women do it women and there’s no reason to assume transgender couples automatically escape the tragedy. People use power in intimate relationships to subjugate partners. Period.
According to http://www.rainbowdomesticviolence.itgo.com, “Domestic abuse occurs in approximately 30% to 40% of GLBT relationships, which is the same percentage of violence that occurs in straight relationships. It is a myth that same-sex couples don’t batter each other, or if they do; they are just “fighting” or it is “mutual abuse”. The sooner and more broadly the covers are pulled off that misconception the better.
As long as there are intimate relationships, partners will use abuse – be it physical, emotional, mental or a combination of the three – as control. So, why would the myth prevail that in a GLBT pair it must be routine squabbling or both partners are being abusive? For one, that sort of denial goes hand in hand with the refusal to recognize non-heterosexual humanity. When someone is different, whether it’s about sexuality or race, and you have a problem with that difference, you can readily, in your willful ignorance, fail to see them as human beings. And don’t accord them the respect you, yourself, expect to receive.
Roxanne Anderson, director of the Transgender Health Coalition, states that when it comes to same-sex couples, “[There aren’t] systems to track domestic violence. If I’m in relationship and let’s say it’s two males. Who do I call? Shelter systems are built for women. They don’t reflect gay communities in the first place. So, lots of times men just don’t call [the police].” Anderson points out that women’s shelters aren’t automatically an adequate refuge for lesbians. Extremely vulnerable, they can, on top of being traumatized, feel awkward about sharing their experiences in a shelter group where other victims are heterosexual.” She adds that life situations in general may not be of much help. “There is with domestic violence, the added stigma. Maybe I don’t have support from my mom, because, she didn’t want me to be with that girl, anyway. My social worker or minister might think I brought it on myself. Because, if I wasn’t in that sinful relationship, that wouldn’t’ve happened to me. Societal stigma’s get weighted a little heavier.” This goes, of course, for gay men as well.
Here’s a hypothetical. Cops show up to answer a domestic abuse call. It’s a guy and a gal. He’s going out of there in handcuffs with a few choice words from the arresting officers about how ashamed of himself he should be for beating up a woman. Same cops answer a call and it’s two men. It is conceivable that they get to the address, see the couple and find the scene amusing. It would not be surprising for them to turn and walk out the door with attitude, “You’re supposed be a couple of men. Settle it like men and fight it out.” Indeed, anticipating such a reaction, the victim might well not even make the call and will simply take the beating.
If you’re part of the GLBT populace and being victimized you have, on top of the emotional trauma and mental paralysis that traps so many abused partners, the problem that there are people who don’t take your crisis seriously at all, much less sympathize with you. Just because of what you are. The combination can keep you locked in a living coffin.
Fact is, though, it is imperative to realize you don’t deserve to be abused anymore than anyone else does. You do certainly have the right and owe it to yourself to get hell out of the relationship. Right now.
About the Author . . . Mr. Hobbes is a writer, playright, performance artists and songwriter. Hobbs has written for ESSENCE Magazine, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the MN Spokesman-Recorder newspapers.
- The Signs of Domestic Violence (everydayhealth.com)
- Domestic abuse: changing the conversation (guardian.co.uk)
- Strong Link Between Domestic Violence And Mental Health (personalliberty.com)