Bias-Related Control Tactics
“Domestic/intimate partner violence tactics in LGBTQ relationships are similar to those used in heterosexual relationships, but also include the use of anti-LGBTQ societal stigma and bias as a central tactic to exert power and control and increase isolation.” 2
Some control tactics are LGBTQ-specific or have a greater impact on LGBTQ victims. Forms these tactics may take are also described on the LGBT Power and Control Wheel.
Threatening to out partner
- To family members and friends.
- To their employer: Threats of outing may keep victims from working, isolate them, and decrease their financial independence.
- To immigration: Threats to report undocumented partner to immigration can be especially terrifying to victims from countries where LGBTQ people are persecuted, and to those who have HIV, regardless of their sexual orientation.
- To their former spouse, who may seek custody of partner’s children if they learn of partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Using anti-LGBTQ slurs in the children’s hearing to turn children against their LGBTQ parent.
- Refusing to allow ex-partner to visit with abuser’s biological children.
- Using ex-partner’s gender identity or sexual orientation to manipulate the court during a custody battle. (A heterosexual ex-partner who wants to keep control after separation or divorce, or punish their ex for leaving them, is particularly likely to use this tactic.)
- If an abusive ex-partner persuades a judge that a transgender victim parent’s gender expression is a greater threat to the children than his/her own violence, the victim parent may have difficulty retaining custody of their children. The judge may order the victim to supervised visitation (which is not widely available), or require them to dress and act in accord with their birth sex in order to see their children.
- Refusing to let partner spend time with friends; claiming that they are really sexual partners. This is especially isolating in small communities.
- Controlling access to transportation to places where LGBTQ people meet, in rural areas especially.
- Getting mutual friends to take sides against partner.
- Convincing partner that shelters and law enforcement will not help them.
- Refusing to respect partner’s sexual limits and wishes.
- Demanding sexual behavior that partner doesn’t want, and making it unsafe for partner to refuse.
- Forcing partner to engage in unprotected sex.
- Identity theft: Posing as partner in order to wipe out their bank account or obtain credit in their name.
- Forcing partner to engage in risky or degrading behavior for the abuser’s financial benefit (e.g. pimping partner out.).
Next: Identity-Based Abuse
- National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, (2010). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Domestic/Intimate partner violence in the United States in 2009, p. 9.