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Members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience sexual assault in unique ways, from hate crimes to intimate partner violence. In this week's #EngageUplift, Jackson Bird talks about issues for queer survivors, as well as finding support as a survivor in queer spaces.

Engage by Uplift tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

Sources for this episode:
Walters, M.L., Chen J., & Breiding, M.J. (2013). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You can read the whole publication here:

Resources for LGBTQIA+ survivors:
TransLifeline: - 1.877.565.8860 (USA)
The Network/La Red: - 617.742.4911 (voice) - 617.227.4911 (tty)
Community United Against Violence (CUAV):
The Montrose Center:
Pandora's Project and Pandora's Aquarium (forum)
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs's Domestic Abuse in LGBTQ Relationships Fact Sheet:

Guest hosted by Jackson Bird:

Written by Sarah Fitz

Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
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Hi everyone, I'm Jackson Bird for Engage by Uplift.

As series aimed at real talk for real change around sexual assault. [Intro music] This week we'll be talking about sexual assault within the LGBTQIA community and what resources are out there for queer and trans survivors. Before we get started: a warning.

This episode discusses hate crimes, sexual assault, rape, and other kinds of intimate partner violence. So if any of that is triggering for you, you may want to click away now. LGBTQIA individuals face higher rates of mental illness, homelessness, poverty, and violence.

Queer and trans people are not only marginalized in society at large, but also within discussions about sexual assault. Discussions around sexual violence often center straight men as perpetrators and straight women as victims. Survivors who don't fit into this narrative are left without clear avenues for seeking help.

In 2013, the Center for Disease Control published the first longitudinal study of intimate partner violence by sexual orientation. In a survey of over 12,000 Americans in all 50 states, the CDC found that 44% of Lesbians, 61% of Bisexual women, and 35% of heterosexual women reported sexual assault by an intimate partner. Gay men reported a 26% assault rate, while 35% of Bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual men reported intimate partner violence including rape, other forms of sexual assault, and stalking.

So, clearly LGBTQIA Americans are in a much greater risk of sexual assault, simply by virtue of their sexual orientations or gender identities. And when combined with bias, shame, poverty, or mental illness, the likelihood of being victimized climbs even higher. Sexual violence against queer people from outside the community may be motivated by homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and more.

But just as in the straight world, the majority of sexual assaults occur between people known to one another, not strangers. Perpetrators are likely to be part of the queer community themselves. LGBTQIA people are simultaneously hypersexualized and delegitimized by society at large.

The perception that queer relationships are only about sex frames certain sex acts as compulsory for "belonging" to a community. In the words of one survivor: "I went out that night, I was drinking with strangers and wanted to hook up, because I wanted those

things before that happened, I felt like I wasn't able to say no. I felt like I'd put myself in the situation, to let it happen.

It made me distrust my own queerness." Queer communities are not immune to violence, bias, or rape apologism. Survivors may feel pressured to ignore non-consensual incidents in favor of going along to get along. Survivors may also hesitate to report crimes from within the community, out of a distrust of the police, or a fear of being charged with a crime themselves.

We know that victims of domestic violence, including sexual violence are often unable to leave their abusers because of financial and psychological dependence. This pressure can be debilitating if the community itself is indifferent to violence. Dialog about consent and safe sex are a great starting point.

But if there's no accountability for a violation of bodily autonomy, how can the queer community be safer than the straight one? Queer survivors may struggle to process their feelings or find queer-friendly resources and shame may prevent survivors from reaching out for support. High rates of substance use within the queer community may discourage survivors from reporting assaults to doctors or the police for fear of legal repercussions, and bias within our legal structure against both survivors of sexual assault and LGBTQIA people, can make reporting a re-traumatizing event.

But bias shouldn't prevent us from seeking justice, whether or not a crime has occurred is not dependent on whether a jury will convict, it depends on what you, the survivor felt. Rape culture tells us that a survivor who doesn't violently resist is complicit. But a moment of violence doesn't always feel like violence.

Survivors in shock might be unable to report at the time of the assault, but recognizing a violation of your own bodily autonomy as a crime is the first step towards changing perceptions of who can be a victim or perpetrator. Ending the stigma around reporting and ending partner violence. Even though we know in our rational minds that violence can occur between any people, normative discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex itself shape how we narrate our own stories.

The CDC numbers obscure the personal pain of each individual survivor, but they do remind us that we are not alone. There are great, safe queer-friendly and queer-run survivor resources out there online and IRL, from hotlines to peer-counseling to legal assistance. If you or a friend is coping with a sexual assault or partner violence, please use the resources below to find help.

Your safety matters to the survival of our community, and to us. You are not alone.