On the morning of June 28th, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in Greenwich Village, prompting a violent uprising from the LGBTQ+ community. On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, gay activists organized the Christopher Street Liberation march during New York’s first Gay Pride Week.
Since then, June has been dedicated to raising awareness for LGBTQ+ community, celebrating LGBTQ+ achievements, and speaking up about the constant fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
In 2021, many Pride celebrations have shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a platform on which members of the LGBTQ+ community across the country can safely connect and celebrate together. As we become more reliant on virtual communication, social media platforms have proven to be an excellent space to educate and raise awareness for Pride and LGBTQ+ matters. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize the significance of healthy LGBTQ+ relationship representation in social media and pop culture. Young people, who are more vulnerable to relationship abuse, are especially in need of healthy role models. LGBTQ+ teens and adolescents may not have the experience or knowledge to recognize the signs of toxic relationships. Representation of LGBTQ+ relationships that are happy, loving, and free from abuse in popular media lets young people see that not only are they being acknowledged, but that their love deserves to be healthy- no matter who they are.
Though much has changed since the 1970s, there are still many issues that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ individuals, and domestic violence is one of them. According to the 2010 Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, members of the LGBTQ+ community have an equal or higher prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) compared to their heterosexual counterparts. 44% of lesbian women- and 61% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men have repored the same experiences. 59% of LGBTQ+ youth have also reported experiencing emotional abuse, compared to 46% of heterosexual youth, according to one U.S. study.
Individuals who identify as transgender are at an even greater risk of experiencing harassment, intimidation and police violence within an abusive relationship. In response to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, members of the trans community reported that 54% have experienced some form of IPV, and 47% have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lives. Transgender survivors of IPV may also be subject to specific forms of relationship abuse, such as a partner invalidating their identity, mocking their body or appearance, or using offensive pronouns. The survey further reported on the outstanding difficulties transgender people faced in accessing basic needs such as housing, employment, medical needs and support from family and friends.
There are unique challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces when it comes to addressing IPV and toxic relationships. Many victims don’t speak up due to the fear of being outed to family and friends. In fact, according to a 2012 study, fewer than 5% of LGBTQ+ survivors of IPV sought orders of protection against their abusers, and less than 25% of those who experienced dating violence in an LGBTQ+ relationship ever reported the abuse. Homophobic service providers, low confidence in legal support for LGBTQ+, lack of service providers trained in addressing LGBTQ+ relationships, difficulty finding appropriate housing and shelter (especially for transgender individuals), and lack of LGBTQ+ friendly resources all act as barriers LGBTQ+ victims face when seeking help. Day One aims to remove as many of these barriers as possible in order to provide assistance to LGBTQ+ survivors of abuse, and many others who may otherwise struggle with accessing these resources.
As Pride month comes to an end, we must remember that healthy LGBTQ+ relationships matter all year round. For more LGBTQ+ and domestic violence resources check out:
The Trevor Project:
The LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation:
Love Is Respect:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: