Each June marks pride month, a time where the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community promotes visibility and acceptance and celebrates progress in the fight for equality.
Pride is a time of parties and parades, but also a moment where the community comes together to talk about the work that must be done for LGBT people to be able to live with respect and dignity. One area that does not always receive attention is the need to acknowledge and support LGBT survivors of rape and abuse.
- We know that about 12% of lesbians and about half of cisgender, bisexual women experience sexual violence at some point in their life.
- An estimated 40% of gay men and 50% of bisexual men have survived violence or abuse.
- More than 70% of LGBT students reported experiencing sexual harassment on campus including being forced to engage in a sexual act.
- Transgender people face incredible discrimination and harassment in their daily lives. They also experience sexual violence at an alarming rate with 64% of people having survived sexual assault in their lifetime.
Right now we are in the midst of our spring fundraising campaign. This is an effort aimed at raising money, but also raising awareness. LGBT victims of sexual assault confront the same issues as any survivor, but they also have to deal with unique issues and special needs when seeking care or support.
Transgender youth, transgender people of color, individuals living with disabilities, and homeless individuals are the most at risk for experiencing sexual violence. This made worse by the fact that programs designed to provide support seldom create specific or appropriate services that meet their needs. We need to ensure access to culturally competent services that look at how prejudice, stigma, and discrimination specifically impact LGBT survivors. We also need to address the way we talk about sexual assault.
Too often violence is portrayed as something experienced by straight, cisgender women at the hands of straight, cisgender men. This can erase the experiences of LGBT people. This is not only troubling at the individual level, but also in a legal context where laws and courts may not know how to appropriately respond to situations of violence that occur within the LGBT community.
At FORCE, we are working hard to forge strong partnerships with organizations and advocates in the LGBT community to ensure that the Monument Quilt provides healing space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survivors. We are committed to creating space where the voices and stories of all survivors are honored. Make a donation today to stand with us and with every person who has survived rape and abuse!