Relationships – Feeling uncomfortable?
Is someone making you feel weird or uncomfortable at home or in your relationships?
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if what’s happening at home or in your relationships is okay. Maybe the people in your house, your family, or the people you are dating act in ways that make you feel unsafe, scared or unable to be the person you are or want to be. When someone does things that hurt, bully or control another person, it is called abuse.
We might not always have words to understand what is happening to us, and we might feel ashamed or worry about what others will say or think about us. It’s important to remember that you have the right to feel safe at home and in your relationships, that your gender identity and sexuality is valid.
There is nothing wrong with being LGBTIQA+ (we actually think it’s pretty wonderful) and being LGBTIQA+ is not a reason for people to treat us in ways that make us feel unsafe or tell us that there is wrong with us.
Here are a few examples of experiences LGBTIQA+ people have described in their house or relationships. These behaviours may be an indication that you should seek support or advice from a LGBTIQA+ service or family violence specialist.
Does your partner, family member, friend or housemate:
- Humiliate you, call you names or make fun of your body, gender identity or gender expression?
- Make you feel like there is something wrong with you or your mental health for being LGBTIQA+
- Threaten to ‘out’ your sexuality, gender (identity, expression or history) or variation in sex characteristics to your friends, family, school or work?
- Threaten to ‘out’ you, your sexual health history or status (i.e HIV status)?
- Make it difficult or stop you from attending LGBTIQA+ groups, events or venues?
- Make it difficult or stop you from hanging out with LGBTIQA+ friends? Or, make fun of the gender or sexuality of your LGBTIQA+ friends?
- Attempt to convince you their behaviour is a normal response to your gender or sexuality?
- Stop you accessing things to affirm your gender (clothing, jewellery, makeup)?
- Force or pressure you to do sexual things you don’t feel comfortable with? Do you feel you can say no?
- Refer to their religious beliefs to suggest there is something wrong with your gender identity or sexuality?
- Control your access to your medication (including hormones) or prevent you from taking your medication?
Sometimes people might also behave in ways that make you, or someone in your house feel unsafe. Family and intimate partner violence is not just physical abuse. Family violence is a repeated pattern of behaviour, and it is never ok for someone to do this.
These behaviours might look like:
- Acting overly protective or jealous
- Having sudden outbursts of anger
- Behaving unpredictably
- Threatening to hurt you or intimidate you in any way
- Making you worried for your family member/partner/pet’s safety
- Blaming you for their behaviour
- Restrict you or other people in your house from doing things
- Make you feel trapped with threats to self-harm or suicide
If you are fearful, nervous or worried about being you at home, or about your relationships, seek support. Even if you’re not sure, and just want to talk it through.
You can call With Respect to have a chat with someone who can support you and give you advice
What is a safety plan?
A safety plan is a way to plan how your friend can be safer while they make decisions about their next steps.
How can WithRespect help?
You can contact WithRespect as a friend to ask for help on how to make a safety plan and how to get help. If your friend is ready, you can support them to call a Family Violence Specialist themself.
How can With Respect help us?
With Respect’s integrated service model offers case management and counselling services for LGBTIQ people experiencing violence. This could be for people who are using violence against partners or family members, so they can work out how to change their behaviour and take responsibility for it; and it could be for people who are victims of abuse and violence, so they can work out how to make their lives safer and work towards recovery.
With Respect offers thorough assessment to both perpetrators and victim survivors while maintaining strong focus on safety and managing risks.
Service providers seeking to make referrals or support clients from LGBTIQ communities are encouraged to phone With Respect 1800 542 847.
Together we can create a safe community where all LGBTIQ people and our families can access family violence services when they need them.