Skip to Main Content


Although there is a dearth of research on transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people and intimate partner violence (IPV), current research suggests rates much higher than those of straight, cisgender women, with 30%–50% of TGD people experiencing IPV compared to 28%–33% in the general population.1 IPV is also known as domestic violence, dating violence, or partner abuse. The Network/La Red, an organization at the forefront of work with LGBTQIA+ survivors, defines partner abuse as “a systematic pattern of behaviors where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions of their partner.2” Included in their definition is the recognition that aside from partners, the abusive person can be “someone they are dating or someone they had an intimate relationship with.3” The Network/La Red suggests using the term “survivor” for a person who is experiencing or has experienced abuse from their partner explaining, “for many who have experienced abuse, “survivor” can be much more empowering than “victim.2” Additionally, the words “victim” and “perpetrator” are inaccurate and sometimes dangerous to use as they are legal terms that refer to “single incidences of criminal behavior” rather than a pattern of power and control.2

While this definition of IPV may be accurate if there is an act of physical violence, many of the tactics of abuse explored in this chapter are not criminal in nature.2 Additionally, a survivor may use violence to resist abuse, which may legally make them the perpetrator of a crime.2 For these reasons, they suggest using the terms “abuser” or “abusive partner” to identify the person in the relationship choosing to use “nonconsensual power over their partner.”2

Attention to IPV by nonprofits, medical organizations, and police has been relatively recent, only unfolding in the past 40 years through the work of feminists bringing the issue to public consciousness.3 Even as awareness has grown, the majority of the narratives told about IPV focus on straight cisgender women as the survivors, victimized by straight cisgender heterosexual men.3 Through the work of LGBTQIA+-specific programs such as The Network/La Red, The Northwest Network, and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, there is a growing awareness that LGBTQIA+ individuals can also be survivors of IPV. Much of the research on LGBTQIA+ survivors of IPV, however, has focused on cisgender gay men and lesbian women. Studies focused specifically on the experiences of TGD people have only emerged recently. Because of this, existing knowledge on the specific experiences of TGD people must be drawn from a combination of the limited existing research, the organizations that specialize in supporting TGD survivors of IPV, and the stories of survivors themselves.

Given the general lack of awareness of the experiences of TGD survivors, it is not surprising that one study shows that 27% of trans survivors did not identify their experience as IPV.4 Therefore, raising awareness ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.