Tackling sexual violence in the LGBTQIA+ community

Anyone can experience sexual violence regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s a sad truth of the world we live in. Rather than avoiding it, we want to make sure that you stay as safe as possible. The MIx looks at sexual violence in the LGBTQIA+ community and find out where you can get support.

A young lesbian couple are sitting at a table. They are thinking about LGBTQIA+ sexual violence. This is a wide-angle image.

T/W Discussions of sexual assault and rape.

Issues with consent affect everyone regardless of gender

Discussing your likes and dislikes with a partner is a HUGE part of a healthy sex life. However, all too often when discussing sexual consent, the sex lives and relationships of the LGBTQIA+ community are overlooked. This can lead to many feeling left out of the conversation and finding it hard to apply it to their daily lives.

Consent affects everybody regardless of their gender, or the type of relationship they’re in. There’s currently a false narrative being spread that rape must involve penetration with a penis, leading people to believe that rape can’t occur between two women in a relationship. The truth is that rape or sexual assault can involve forced sexual touching, oral sex, or penetration with a finger or another object.

Similarly, with men in same-sex relationships there can be an assumption that rape doesn’t exist. This is fed by the myth that men are always ‘up for it’. This can make it difficult for gay men to say no to sex or come forward if they’ve experienced rape. It’s helpful to remember, whatever gender you and your partner are, you both deserve to have your boundaries respected. No means no in ANY and EVERY sexual encounter.

Drink & drugs can affect our ability to consent

Drink and drugs often make an appearance during sexy times, even though they can massively affect our ability to make good decisions. If your partner’s ability to consent to sex is hindered by drink or drugs, they legally can’t give consent. To find out more, click here. 

If you do take anything it’s important to know what you’re taking and the effects it will have on you. Be aware of you and your partner’s behaviour. If they start to zone out or go limp, stop and tell them you think they may be too drunk.

If you regularly take drugs during sex and want more support, 56 Dean Street offer walk-in, one-to-one chats focused on the LGBTQIA+ community. You can discuss issues such as taking PReP, hook up apps, having a chem-free week and using drugs such as crystal meth or GHB. We also have a true story about the harrowing consequences of meth sex for you to check out here.

Hate crimes & sexual assault against trans people

Sadly the number of reported hate crimes against transgender people in the UK has increased drastically in recent years. Many trans people don’t feel safe and worry about being taken seriously by the police when it comes to any crimes, including those involving sexual violence. 

It can be disheartening to feel like your voice isn’t being heard but it’s important to remember:

  • Everyone has the right to report a crime. LGBTQIA+ sexual violence is a real issue that needs to be dealt with.
  • You deserve to be treated with respect by the police when reporting a crime regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • You have control over your body and what happens to it. Know what your boundaries are and what kind of relationship you want.
  • If you want to speak to someone you can call Childline on 0800 1111 if you’re under 19 or Galop, an anti-LGBTQIA+ violence charity, on 0800 999 5428.

You can also read this article about transphobia to begin understanding what the trans community have to endure on a daily basis. 

How to stay safe on dating apps

Dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder have become the new way to meet ‘the one’ for both gay men, straight men and people of basically all sexual orientations and genders. But you have to remember that the internet can be a scary place. If you’re meeting up with someone for the first time:

  • Try and speak to them on the phone or ask for more images so you have more information about them.
  • Tell a friend where you’ll be going and when you’ll be meeting them.
  • If you’re meeting up with someone new to have sex, suggest meeting in public first before going home with them. That way if you don’t like them, it’ll be easier for you to leave.
  • Look up how to get home easily before you get there.

Read our article on online dating safely for more info.

Reporting LGBTQIA+ sexual violence

Remember that if someone does commit a crime against you, it’s absolutely not your fault. You’re never to blame if someone decides to take advantage of you, regardless of what safety precautions you took.

Some people worry about reporting a crime because they don’t want to bring negative attention to the LGBTQIA+ community. While we completely understand that the pressure to always help your friends and community can be difficult, this shouldn’t get in the way of you getting the help you deserve.

Support with sexual violence in the LGBTQIA+ community

As a start, you can read our articleWas it Rape?that has information on what to do if you think you’ve been raped and how to report a crime. If you’ve been a victim of sexual violence and are looking for support you can contact:

  • Galop: This anti-LGBTQIA+ violence charity has a dedicated national helpline for domestic abuse victims and a London-based helpline for LGBTQIA+ victims of violence.
  • Rape Crisis: Offer advice and support to women and girls who are victims of rape and sexual assault. There are also many local rape crisis services across the UK.
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centres: Provide services to victims of rape and sexual assault regardless of whether you choose to report the crime to the police or not.
  • SurvivorsUK: offers advice and support to cis and trans male victims of rape and sexual assault. Text on 020 3322 1860.
  • 56 Dean Street: a sexual health and HIV/GUM clinic in London.
  • Brook: offers sexual health and wellbeing advice to under 25s.
  • Childline: advice and support for under 19s. Call their free helpline on 0800 1111.

You might also want to use our relationship tool to understand your relationship dynamic, and what you can do if it’s not as healthy as it should be.

Next Steps

  • Galop is an anti-LGBT violence charity. Call the dedicated national helpline for LGBT domestic abuse victims on 0800 999 5428. You can also call the London-based helpline for LGBT victims of violence on 0207 704 2040.
  • Rape Crisis offers support and advice to victims of rape and sexual assault, no matter how long ago the attack was. 0808 802 99 99
  • SurvivorsUK offers advice and support to male victims of rape and sexual assault. Text on 020 3322 1860.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Tags:

consent| lgbt| rape

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 06-Nov-2021

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.