Gay Men

Violence and abuse happen in LGBTQ relationships.  It’s never a survivor’s fault.

  • Even if they argued back or protected themselves from getting hurt
  • Even if society or families don’t accept LGBTQ relationships
  • Even if a male survivor is with a man and is told this is how men fight
  • Even if a survivor is not sure if what happened sexually was abuse
  • Even if two men have just met or have been together a long time

It’s STILL not a survivor’s fault.

No one deserves to be abused, teased, hurt, controlled, or isolated.  Partner abuse includes many types of abuse and can happen on the first date, during or after a hookup or in a relationship of 20 years.

Gay men face some unique challenges in identifying partner abuse in their own relationships and their friends’ relationships.  This page includes challenges and resources that specifically discuss partner abuse experienced by gay men.

How can a gay man be hurt and controlled by another man?  It isn’t very manly.

Sexism does not just affect women.  People raised as boys, men, and transmen are expected by society to act in masculine ways.  This idea is likely not unfamiliar to men, regardless of their sexual orientation; however, it has some specific effects on how men experience and view partner abuse.  First, physical altercations between men are often seen as “boys fighting,” and may be difficult for men to identify as partner abuse.  Second, some gay men have said that it feels shameful and not masculine to be a survivor of abuse, again making partner abuse hard to name.

Aren’t services for domestic violence and sexual assault for women?

Some men infrequently seek routine medical care.  Gay men may have a difficult time finding providers who understand the unique needs of gay men.  For example, partner abuse might not be noticed or brought up by providers.  In other words, physicians and other health professionals may not be aware of partner abuse as an issue that affects gay men, so it may be overlooked or not assessed (see survivor stories section).  Also, men may not seek medical care for injury, or only seek care if an injury is quite severe.  Less severe injuries or types of abuse such as emotional, psychological, or financial abuse, may not be reported at all.

Another challenge related to services for men is that partner abuse services are geared toward women, and may include “women” or similar language in the title of their agency.  In addition to sounding like these services are not for men, some services truly may not be open to men, such as shelters or support groups.

What happens between two men can’t be rape… can it?

Rape can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Any male can be the victim of sexual assault, regardless of age, class, race, culture, disability or sexual orientation. Gay men face the challenge of defining sexual acts as rape, because the greater society may view sex between men as violent, even in consensual same sex relationships.  In short, gay men may face internal and external challenges in defining sexual assault or rape in an intimate partnership.

Other Resources for Gay Men