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LGBT Domestic Violence
Legal Rights of LGBT Victims of Domestic Violence
Retired Gay Schoolteacher
Killed by Boyfriend
police announced on June 13 formal charges
against a man accused of beating his
boyfriend to death over the weekend.
Richard Demont Johnson, 27, is charged with
murder. Authorities identified the victim as
54-year-old Dennis Stimpson, a longtime and
well-liked Birmingham elementary school
Birmingham East Precinct officers responded about 12:30 p.m. Saturday to the 6400 block of First Avenue South on a report of two people fighting, said Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Stimpson on the bedroom floor. He had blunt force trauma to the face, chest and head. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Birmingham Fire and Rescue at 12:37 p.m. Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards said the victim was in a dating relationship with the suspect. According to a witness, both men were inside the apartment fighting before officers arrived. Johnson was taken into custody at the scene and then underwent questioning by detectives at police headquarters. Police said Johnson is in the hospital, and will be taken to the Jefferson County Jail once he is released.
Stimpson, who lived on Birmingham's Southside, retired from Birmingham City Schools in June 2015, according to a schools spokeswoman. When Stimpson retired, he was working at Martha Gaskins Elementary School. He had worked there from 2013-2015. He started working with Birmingham City Schools in 1985 and had worked at North Roebuck Elementary.
Violence in LGBT Relationships
The CW Network's television series, The LA Complex recently featured an episode on domestic violence in which the couple were black gay men, prompting the Huffington Post to publish a frank discussion on the subject of LGBT domestic violence, down low behavior, masculinity, and LGBT relationships among African-American males.
According to the Huff Post blog, more open discussion needs to take place about this difficult topic. It is always difficult to watch violence occur within relationships, and particularly within LGBT relationships. There are so many negative preconceived notions about LGBT relationships, especially the way masculine-presenting closeted gay men treat their partners. And sometimes the media recreates stereotypes instead of cultivating new images of gay men, especially black gay men.
In the case of the LA Complex segment, the character is a closeted gay rapper, which might perpetuate the "down low" notion instead of a conversation that offers alternatives and shows the variance that exists in the lives of black gay men. They are more diverse in the ways that they live their lives, but the ways in which they are often represented within popular culture fail to capture that diversity. LGBT people, just like heterosexual people, experience intimate partner violence in their relationships, as well, regardless of race, class, ethnicity, or other identity markers. We need to talk honestly about the ways that violence shows up in their relationships, too.
Intimate partner violence happens in all types of relationships, and we need to create more spaces where our youth can discuss their relationships openly and honestly (free of judgment) so we can rethink what a loving, healthy relationship looks like. We need to have conversations with youth regarding relationships and the ingredients necessary to build and maintain a "healthy relationship." Moreover, young people need to understand the impact of violence within relationships and the fact that violence (physical, mental, or emotional) is never acceptable.
Same Sex Violence and Abuse
violence in the LGBT community is a serious
issue. The rates of domestic violence in
same-gender relationships is roughly the
same as domestic violence against
heterosexual women. As in opposite-gendered
couples, the problem is likely
underreported. Facing a system which is
often oppressive and hostile towards those
who identify as anything other than
"straight", those involved in same-gender
battering frequently report being afraid of
revealing their sexual orientation or the
nature of their relationship.
Additionally, even those who attempt to report violence in their alterative relationship run into obstacles. Police officers, prosecutors, judges and others to whom a LGBT victim may turn to for help may have difficulty in providing the same level of service as to a heterosexual victim. Not only might personal attitudes towards the LGBT community come into play, but these providers may have inadequate levels of experience and training to work with LGBT victims and flimsy or non-existent laws to enforce on behalf of the victim.
Although much advancement has been made in the provision of services, the enforcement of the law, and the equality of protections available to those in LGBT relationships over the last decade, it is important for you to be aware of your rights and options as they relate to your attempt to escape an abusive relationship.
violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV),
is a pattern of coercive behaviors that
includes one or more of the following:
physical abuse or the threat of physical
abuse, psychological abuse, rape, sexual
assault, progressive social isolation,
deprivation, intimidation, and/or economic
coercion. Domestic violence or IPV is
perpetrated against current or former
intimate partners with whom the perpetrator
dated, engaged in a chiefly sexual
relationship, married or cohabited.
Adults and adolescents can perpetrate IPV or be survivors of IPV. Abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse, as well as threats, intimidation, and isolation. For LGBTQ people in relationships, an abusing partner may also use the weapons of heterosexism and homophobia and threaten to “out” an abused partner in situation where the abused is not out. IPV happens in every part of our community, to people of every race, ethnicity, class, age, ability or disability, education level, and religion.
Violent, Abusive, Coercive Behaviors
Abuse: Hitting, choking, slapping, burning,
shoving, hitting with objects/using a
weapon, or restraining.
Restricting Freedom: Controlling whom you can see, what groups or organizations you can be in, what you can read or know about, what movies you can see, where you can go.
Emotional Abuse: Criticizing you, humiliating you, lying to you, neglecting you, causing you to feel degraded.
Threats and intimidation: Threatening to harm children, family, friends or pets. Threatening to report your sexual identity, HIV or citizenship status to the authorities or others.
Economic Abuse: Taking control of your money or stealing it, running up debts, making you dependent against your will.
Sexual Abuse: Rape, forcing sex or certain sex acts, forcing sex with others, assaulting parts of your body, withholding sex, criticizing sexual performance, refusing safer sex, disrespecting “safe words” or violating boundaries of a “scene.”
Destruction of Property: Damaging personal object or clothing, overturning or breaking furniture, vandalizing the home, throwing or smashing things, destroying clothes.
HIV-related Abuse: Getting in the way of medical treatment, withholding medications, destroying important documents, threatening to reveal HIV status to friends, family, employers, immigration or governmental authorities.
Heterosexist Control: Threatening to “out” you to others in situations where you have chosen not to come out or feel it is unsafe to do so.
Myths About LGBT Domestic Violence
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program
Suite 101: LGBT Domestic Violence
Lambda: Domestic Violence in Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Relationships
Resources for LGBT Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Statistics
According to the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, domestic violence occurs within same-sex relationships as it does in heterosexual relationships. The acronym LGBT is often used and stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
lesbians reported violence by their female
partner and 15% of gay men who had lived
with a male partner reported being
victimized by a male partner.
Of the LGBT
victims who sought services from the New
York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence
Project, 36% of clients in 2003 and 38% of
clients in 2004 filed police reports
regarding intimate partner violence.
percent of victims in 2003 and 91 percent of
victims in 2004 reported experiencing prior
incidents of abuse, with the majority (45
percent and 47 percent, respectively)
reporting having experienced more than 10
found that same-sex cohabitants reported
significantly more intimate partner violence
than did opposite-sex cohabitants. Among
women, 39.2% of the same-sex cohabitants and
21.7 of the opposite- sex cohabitants
reported being raped, physically assaulted,
and/or stalked by a marital/cohabiting
partner at some time in their lifetime.
15.4% of same-sex cohabiting men reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked by a male partner, but 10.8% reported such violence by a female partner.
Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama