What is an abusive LGBTQ relationship?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) teens experience dating abuse at the same rates and in similar ways as teens in straight relationships. The same types of abuse may be used to gain power and control in LGBTQ relationships as those in straight relationships; however, specific tactics may be used in LGBTQ relationships. There are many definitions and words that not everyone recognizes. Click the tab below to learn more about words that are commonly heard and used.

The Teen Alert Program is inclusive of all sexual identities and orientations. TAP believes everyone deserves happy and healthy relationships and our services are inclusive to all teens.

If you're in a LGBTQ relationship - Signs that your partner is being abusive:

  • Your partner tries to convince you that it’s you and them against the world and that no one else can or will understand your relationship
  • Your partner has been out longer than you, therefore they tell you how and what you need to be doing in your life to be LGBTQ
  • Your partner ridicules or belittles your identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, femme, butch, etc.
  • Your partner tries to convince you that no one will take a LGBTQ victim seriously
  • Your partner threatens to come out for you to your family, friends, or job
  • Your partner threatens to insult you to your friends, family, and community because of your LGBTQ identity

Biological Sex: Either male or female, primarily assigned at birth, based on reproductive function and chromosomes

Gender Identity: One’s internal, deeply-held sense of being female, male, or something else. Everyone has a gender identity.

Gender Roles: Social and behavioral norms for how men and women are expected to act: being a doctor or nurse, being martial or maternal. 1

Transgender: People (or trans people) are people whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender women are people who were assigned male at birth and identify as female. Transgender men are people who were assigned female at birth and identify as male. 2

Transition / Transitioning / Transitioned: The process when a transgender person takes steps to start living as the “other” gender they identify as; may or may not include medical, and/or surgical interventions

Sexual Orientation: A person’s emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to another person

Gay: A person who is emotionally, romantically, and sexual attracted to individuals of the same sex; a term used for men and also women

Lesbian: A female person who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to other females

Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to individuals that are men and individuals who are women

In the Closet: Keeping one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity private or a secret. Coming out of the closet refers to disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity to another or others.

Queer: A more recent term that has been adopted as an identifier by youth (and some adults) that may refer to one’s sexual orientation or one’s gender identity

Homophobia: A fear of or prejudice of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people

Transphobia: A fear of or prejudice of transgender or other gender identities

Heterosexism: Discrimination against homosexuals on the assumption that heterosexuality is the “normal” sexual orientation


1. http://www.truechild.org
2. https://www.lgbtfunders.org

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