Violence and LGBTQ+ Communities: What Do We Know, and What Do We Need to Know?

  • Citation: McKay, Tasseli, Shilpi Misra, and Christine Lindquist. “Violence and LGBTQ+ Communities: What Do We Know, and What Do We Need to Know?” RTI International, March 2017.
    • Topics:
    • Movements for Inclusion
    • Keywords:
    • LGBTQ+ persons
    • physical and sexual violence
    • harassment
    • victimization
    • legislation

Many local, state, and federal initiatives that have the potential for profound impacts on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities, known more inclusively as “sexual and gender minorities,” are under consideration in legislative bodies across the country. Indeed, more than 200 pieces of legislation addressing the rights and privileges of LGBTQ+ individuals were introduced at the state level in 2016 alone (Lang, 2016). While the legislative intentions behind such initiatives are doubtless complex, debates surrounding them have been heated and often highly polarized—with some vocal proponents asserting a need for protection from potential harms perpetrated by “biological men… in women’s bathrooms, showers or locker rooms” and others suggesting that members of LGBTQ+ communities might need protection from harm (Campbell, 2016; Dastagir, 2016; Harrison, 2016; Marusak, 2016; NC Senate Floor Debate on HB 2, 2016). In this context, RTI International assessed the available research evidence on experiences of violence and victimization in LGBTQ+ communities. We reviewed prior research on violence and LGBTQ+ communities, conducted an inventory of existing data sources, and worked with The Henne Group on a series of formative focus groups to better understand our findings. This review is the first to summarize evidence on perpetration, victimization, consequences and reporting of victimization, and issues of fear and safety across several large fields of research.

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