RAINN Stands with LGBTQ Survivors

Each June, communities and individuals around the world recognize pride month—a joyful celebration of all genders and sexualities as well as a solemn reminder of the difficulties many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people continue to face.

Sexual violence is an issue that affects all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. LGBTQ survivors often encounter many of the same challenges other survivors face, but might also have additional obstacles in accessing legal, medical, and law enforcement resources due to discrimination or lack of understanding.

For LGBTQ survivors who don’t feel comfortable talking about their sexual orientation with friends or family, it can be especially hard to disclose sexual violence.

“The reaction of the first person you tell is extremely important, and can often hinder or facilitate a survivors pathway to healing” says Keeli Sorensen, vice president of victim services, “If someone discloses to you, whether they are LGBTQ or not, the best thing to do is listen, believe them, and don’t judge.”

Read these stories to learn more about how these individuals’ experiences as LGBTQ survivors present many unique challenges—and many shared with other survivors:

  • Hear from Johnathon about healing from drug-facilitated sexual assault as a queer, gender-nonconforming person. “I’ve been told my entire life that it was impossible for this kind of thing to happen to me.”
  • Learn from Ethan about his experience as a trans-man who experienced intimate partner violence. “I truly believe it is possible to call out and prioritize sexual violence against women while also acknowledging that sexual violence affects people of all genders.”
  • Read more from Eileen about child sexual abuse and delayed trauma as a queer woman. “One thing I struggled with around my eating disorder was feeling ashamed. The fact that I was fixated on my physical appearance made me feel that I was betraying the body positivity in the queer community."
  • Read KiloMarie’s story of experiencing a hate crime veiled as “corrective rape.” “I did not realize until much later that these rapes were acts of hate-based violence.”

RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 for all survivors at 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español: rainn.org/es.