LGBTQ Individuals and Sexual Violence - Breaking the Myths:
Does sexual violence happen to LGBTQ people?
Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of their race, class, age, appearance, or sexual orientation. Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people are subject to the same spectrum of sexual violence as the general population. In general, situations of sexual assault that involve LGBT people are very similar to those that heterosexuals experience. According to research, LGBT people are at approximately the same risk as heterosexuals of being sexually assaulted by someone they know.
Are LGBTQ people more likely than heterosexuals to be perpetrators of sexual violence?
No. As part of the oppression that LGBT people have faced for their sexual orientation and/or gender identification, their sexual activities have sometimes been criminalized. LGBT people are often identified as outsiders, and sexual deviates, and are scapegoated as perpetrators of sexual violence. However, in the vast majority of cases, perpetrators are heterosexual men. Another common myth about LGBT people is that they molest children. This is also untrue; in fact several studies of sexual abuse perpetrators concluded that heterosexual adults are more likely to be a threat to children than LGBT adults are. The research points to there being no significant relationship between an LGBT lifestyle and child molestation.
Are LGBTQ people more likely than heterosexuals to be sexually assaulted by a stranger?
Homophobia in our culture puts LGBT people at greater risk for sexual assault by strangers. It is common for perpetrators to use sexual violence as a way to punish and humiliate someone for being LGBT. A common example of this is when individuals who think they can “change” a woman’s sexual orientation specifically target lesbians and bisexual women for sexual assault.
What are some common fears of LGBTQ survivors?
Fear of being forced to “come out” if they approach their family, the courts, or the police to report their sexual assault.
Information regarding LGBT Sexual Assault Myths adapted from the Harvard Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.
LBGT Student Services Office
WMU’s Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay & Transgender Student Services Office can provide resources, information, and community support to LBGT survivors of sexual assault. While you may choose to report harassing or stalking behavior, you may also choose to seek resources and referrals if you experience a sexual assault.
Outspoken is an organization comprised of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally students at Western Michigan University. They focus on the advocacy and well being of GLBTA students through weekly meetings and special events.
Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center
PFLAG of Southwest Michigan
WAVAWNet LGBT Resources
Lesbian Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Information
FIRE Place is our on-campus support and resource service center. The center is a safe place for students that supports survivors and friends of survivors of sexual assault and other bias incidents. From here you can easily reach a network of campus programs, offices, and RSOs (Registered Student Organizations). Caring staff will assist you and provide direct connections to the most beneficial options as well as help students navigate the resources. The center maintains a collection of resources and educational publications on the topics of sexual assault, bias incidents, and other forms of violence. You may also come to contribute to ongoing healing art and awareness projects.