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Many LGBT patients have experienced violence or sexual abuse in the past. Gays and lesbians continue to be the victims of hate crimes, representing 15% of reported hate crime in the United States, after only race and religion[7]. Gay men are more often victims than lesbians and more often attacked by strangers[7] [1]. Attacks against the LGBT population are generally more violent that other hate crimes and more likely to involve multiple perpetrators[7]. It is important to ask all patients about past experiences with violence and abuse, regardless of sexual orientation[1].

Gay men are more often the victims of male on male rape than their heterosexual counterparts. Lesbians, however, have similar rates of victimization by men to the general female population[1] [8].

There continues to be a pervasive silence surrounding domestic violence in lesbian relationships, therefore, the numbers are difficult to establish. Victims are also less likely to seek medical care, to report the abuse or to use the shelter system. It is thus important to remember that violence can occur in all relationships[9].


1. Peterkin A, Risdon C. Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide. 2003. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. Toronto, Ontario.

7. Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council. A Provider's Handbook on Culturally Competent Care: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Population. Oakland, CA. Kaiser Permanente; 2000.

8. Rosenfeld, JA, Ed. Handbook of Women's Health. New York, NY. Cambridge University Press; 2001.

9. Hudspith M. Caring for Lesbian Health: A Resource for Canadian Health Care Providers, Policy Makers and Planners, Revised Edition. 2001. Health Canada. Accessed October 24, 2003.

All references for this section