Love and Violence in Black LGBTQ Communities

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Love and Violence in Black LGBTQ Communities

God and therefore deserved to be abused, flogged and beaten.

“I thought I showed strength by staying in the relationship. I thought if we acted happy we would become happy” Jill stated.

With too many churches espousing a theology emphasizing the place and value of suffering in one’s life as a test from God like that of the biblical Job coupled with the marriage vow “for richer or poorer until death do us part” the act forgiveness is seductively elevated as both redemptive and virtuous that too many LGBTQ victims remain in abusive relationships.

The politic of silence is another cultural barrier preventing reporting domestic violence and receiving interventive services.

While the politic of silence is rightfully aimed to diminish a deleterious white gaze on the black community—past and present—it isn’t aim for us to not voice and address problems plaguing our communities like HIV/AIDS, mental illness, suicide and IPV, to name a few. Rather than addressing these problems they are spun into a damaging discourse of blame, shame, stigma and misinformation. And with many of us having to confront the daily micro aggressions of racism and homophobia in the workplace and out in the world the last thing many LGBTQ victims want to tackle is IPV at home, a “safe space.”

Jill’s spouse suffered with bipolar disorder and always attributed her spouse’s violence to her mood changes. Looking back we sister-friends only saw the couple during what they depicted as being “jubilantly high on love.”

The dominant view by both health care professions and law enforcement officers that communities of color, especially of African descent have a predisposition toward violence gravely interfere with victims taking action and a community raising awareness.

With a cultural distrust of law enforcements officers due to the rash of shootings and killings of unarmed black men and women in streets across America most in my community—straight or LGBTQ—call for them only in extreme dire situations with prayers and hopes of no fatalities. Consequently, victims of IPV, especially LGBTQs are not taken seriously.

For example, the myth that since both the victim and the abuser are of the same gender and are also in a consensual sexual relationship, many law enforcement officers confuse same-gender sexual violence as part and parcel of being homosexual.

Health care disparities in communities of color and LGBTQs are only exacerbated for LGBTQ people of color. Sadly, this creates distrust as well as a lack and under-utilization of resources toward healing, prevention, and moving on.

The Jills have finally separated but not because of police intervention or heath care prevention. We sister-friends stepped in. Not everyone has a support system Resources and services have to be made available to LGBTQ communities of color. And this is the time to reach out to us. Everyone deserves a safe, loving, healthy and violent-free relationship. LGBTQ communities of color have to be educated to embrace the fact that they, too.

*The names are fictional and the couple described is a composite of numerous couples I counseled on inter-personal violence (IPV).