Current Issues For Gay & Lesbians

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Current issues for gay & lesbians

Current issues for gay & lesbians


Ironically, even though lesbian activists were working hand in hand with battered women for the recognition of domestic violence, the awareness of lesbian battering came much later. For their part, gay men were not particularly involved in the movement and have had even more difficulty acknowledging that domestic violence also occurs between gay intimate partners. Traditionally, the homosexual community has been reluctant to address this issue for fear of homophobic reactions or conservative backlash. Alternatively, the concern was that it could be used as evidence of the inherently dysfunctional nature of same-sex relationships. Because of their history of rejection and discriminations, those in same-sex relationships wanted to protect the fragile credibility they have earned. Hence, fighting for civil rights, such as nondiscrimination and the right to get married and to raise children, ranked higher on activists' agenda. Yet, the problem of same-sex domestic violence is compounded when the homosexual community itself refuses to accept the seriousness of the problem.


A strong positive correlation exists between sexual orientation and the risk, frequency, and intensity of criminal victimization, especially violent offenses. Social scientists have determined that one's sexual orientation independently increases the odds of victimization through multivariate analysis using logistic regression. A range of constitutional (age, race, and gender), social (rurality, socioeconomic status, education, and marital status), and situational factors specific to the victimization event (activity such as work, school or shopping, alone or with others, and time of day) has been studied. When all factors are held constant, being gay, lesbian, or bisexual significantly increases the likelihood of being a victim of a violent crime. (Abbott, 1972)

The extent of victimization is unknown because of underreporting of criminal events, attributable to the exclusion of the gay and lesbian community, generally, as well as actual and perceived homophobia within law enforcement, the no criminalization of some events, and the desire of a percentage of victims to keep their sexual orientation confidential. Accordingly, estimates that homosexuals are twice as likely as heterosexuals to be a victim of a violent offense such as assault, sexual assault, and robbery, are likely conservative. In addition to experiencing higher levels of violent victimization than others, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals also experience higher spousal abuse, which is also thought to be underreported. The lifestyle and personal predictors of victimization, such as frequency of evening activities, urban residence, young age, and single marital status, are more common among gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Sexual orientation is pronouncedly problematic in the context of prison rape, so much so that the U.S. Congress authorized the National Prison Rape Elimination Act and formed a Commission to effect reform. Although the prison rape act is a notable exception, the United States has not been as progressive as other advanced nations in addressing victimization of homosexuals as a special population. (Abbott, 1972)

Same-Sex Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community is a dark figure (unreported crime), principally because most ...
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