Let’s Talk About Queer Intimate Partner Violence

I have written by this point an absurd number of pieces on queer intimate partner violence, because it’s really real and really ignored. Here are some of them:

New Report on Intimate Partner Violence Among LGBT People

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a coalition cordinated by the New York-based Anti-Violence Project, has just released its 2014 report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive intimate partner violence — and its results might surprise you. Or they might not surprise you at all, in which case I feel you, comrade.

Report Finds One-Fifth of Queer College Women Experience Intimate Partner Violence

This week, the Association of American Universities released a massive report with data on sexual and gender-based violence from 27 American universities. This is huge.

This is huge because basically, people have been using the same one-in-four or five statistic about women’s incidence of sexual assault on college campuses from the same study for at least as long as I’ve been paying attention (okay, 2011; I’m young) — and sadly, though unsurprisingly, this statistic remains the case.

But this is also extra super huge because of what it tells us about queer and trans students’ experiences of sexual and intimate partner violence. Spoiler alert: We experience a lot of it. And when you take into account factors like disability, these numbers get all sorts of depressing in lots of intersectional ways.

For example: According to this report, queer college women are almost twice as likely as their straight counterparts to experience intimate partner violence. Holy shit.

Let’s Talk About Intimate Partner Violence in Queer Communities

When I saw the recent news about a domestic violence incident between WNBA players and certified queer idols BrittneyGriner and Glory Johnson, my reaction was not shock.

It was recognition.

Not because of statistics (and stereotypes) about the prevalence of sexual and intimate partner violence inathletics.

But because, as little as we may hear about it in conventional conversations about sexual and intimate partner violence, violence in queer communities and relationships is a reality a lot of us live with.

When is it Abuse?

Recently my roommate and I played a silly, terrifying game. I was having one of those days. You know what I’m talking about: one of those so-queer-so-horny, what-is-my-love-life, romantic-fuckup days.

“What is it?” I kept moaning, listing failed fling after failed fling. “Why does love stink?”

“Okay,” my ever-patient roommate calmly said. “Maybe there are patterns here.”

Oh baby, were there patterns. Going back over my lady business, we discovered — with the kind of grim hilarity that comes from realizing you’re between a rock and a, well, structural patriarchy and heterosexism  — that I have never had a romantic experience with another queer person that has not been harmed by outness strugs, metal health strugs, or the effects of trauma.

Intersectional Justice

How do we find justice when the systems in place to protect us are often the same ones that have made our communities so vulnerable in the first place?

Justice, Like Love

I used to crave love. Partnered love. Sex and love. The big one. The everything. The woman who walked into the room and she was an event, a happening, woman with knowledge on her tongue, woman with the world in her body.

I think a lot of us crave that. We want it like religion. Twinning, merging, losing oneself, liberating oneself, the self floating away like smoke: Going. Gone.

It’s funny how much love rhetoric now sounds to me like the rhetoric of violence.

Now I crave justice. Deep justice. Justice that goes all the way down to the center of the earth and reaches all the way up to the sky. Justice with its arms to the sun.

Love needs to be the animating force, the illuminating force, the force that propels us forward. But when it comes to creating healthy relationships and healthy communities, love is not enough.

We need to fall in activism.

 

 

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