Gov’t to Spend $300,000 Helping LGBTQ Domestic Violence Victims

Melanie Hunter
June 20, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services is devoting $300,000 of taxpayer funds to help LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) victims of domestic violence through its agency Administration for Children & Families.

“Many service providers throughout the United States struggle to understand the complexities associated with identifying, serving, and supporting LGBTQ populations,” the grant solicitation said.

“Not only are the populations racially and ethnically diverse but the sub-populations within the LGBTQ umbrella often do not share similar experiences as LGBTQ individuals or as victims of intimate partner violence,” it added.

The grant seeks to “expand the capacity of both domestic violence organizations and LGBTQ-specific organizations to more effectively identify and address the unique needs of LGBTQ intimate partner violence victims.”

The grant cited difficulty that gay men may face accessing “‘mainstream’ shelter services.”

“Gay men, for example, have enormous difficulty accessing ‘mainstream’ shelter services because domestic violence shelters grew from the battered women’s movement. Because the battered women’s movement was focused on sexism, patriarchy, and the abuse of male power between non-transgender people, the historical understanding of domestic violence largely excluded LGBTQ communities,” the grant description said.

“Men, therefore, are often not understood to be victims within the continuum of domestic violence service provision because they are the predominant perpetrators of domestic violence within the violence against women philosophical framework,” it said.

The problem also extends to transgender people who are biologically male, but identify as women, according to the grant.

“Trans-women may also be excluded from shelter because they may biologically be male and at the same time confound service providers’ understandings of sex and gender,” the grant said.

“Lesbians seeking refuge at a domestic violence shelter may encounter homophobia and bias from other residents or staff members or they may simply be confronted with the invisibility of their experience in the form of information and educational materials that only address heterosexual domestic violence,” it added.

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning (LGBTQ) victims of intimate partner, domestic, and/or dating violence do not have consistent access to culturally competent services to prevent and address such violence,” the grant said.

“Domestic/intimate partner violence is a significant health problem among LGBTQ populations and has serious physical health, mental health, and social consequences for its victims, their families, the LGBTQ communities, and society-at-large,” it added.

The grant, which is expected to be awarded to only one recipient, was posted on June 7, and the closing date for applications is Aug. 6.