Lakeshore Legal Aid

Sections on this page:

Domestic Violence
Special Issues
Recent Successes

Contact Information:

Lakeshore Legal Aid
30500 Van Dyke Avenue,
Suite 601
Warren, MI 48093

Clients: (888) 783-8190
Office: (586) 510-1814

Domestic Violence in LGBT Communities

CAUTION! Please be aware that the websites you visit are often stored in your computer's memory. The next time you open your browser, websites you last visited may show up. If you share a computer with your abuser, s/he may be able to review the sites you have visited. The safest way to search for information on the Internet is at a local library, public school, friend's house, or office location.

NOTICE: The information provided within this website is not intended to be legal advice and visitors to this website should not act upon this information without consulting with legal counsel.

Domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships regardless of race, national origin, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.

Special Issues in LGBT Domestic Violence*

Many aspects of LGBT domestic violence are similar to those experienced by heterosexual victims. However, perpetrators in LGBT relationships often attempt highly specific forms of abuse based on identity and community dynamics, including:

  • "Outing" or threatening to out a partner's sexual orientation;
  • Reinforcing fears that no one will help the victim because s/he is LGBT, or that for this reason, the partner "deserves" the abuse;
  • Justifying abuse with the notion that a partner is not "really" LGBT (i.e. the victim may once have had, or still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser's definitions of these terms);
  • Telling the survivor that abusive behavior is a normal part of LGBT relationships, or that it cannot be domestic violence because it is occurring between LGBT individuals;
  • Monopolizing support resources through an abuser's manipulation of friends and family supports and generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the survivor;
  • Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, especially if the partner attempts to defend against it, or has an expression of masculinity or some other "desirable" trait;
  • Depicting the abuse as part of sado-masochistic (S/M) activity. Domestic violence can exist in S/M relationships, but it is not implicit, nor unique to this type of relationship. Domestic Violence in not S/M, nor should any non-consensual violent or abusive acts that take place outside of a pre-arranged scene or in violation of pre-determined safe words or boundaries be considered part of, or justified as, a normal S/M relationship.

*This information was taken from the website for the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. For additional information, please read the following report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2002 -- A Report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. (report on disk)

As an LGBT survivor of domestic abuse, am I able to obtain a personal protection order?

Michigan law simply requires proof of a relationship between the victim and abuser regardless of race, sexual orientation or socio-economic class. Under a domestic PPO in Michigan, the following persons can be restrained:

  1. The petitioner's spouse or former spouse;
  2. A person with whom the petitioner has a child in common;
  3. A person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the petitioner;
  4. A person with whom the petitioner has had a dating relationship.

If you would like assistance in filing for a PPO or on another legal matter, please contact our toll-free and confidential legal helpline at 1-888-783-8190.

Recent Successes

Lakeshore sucessfully represented a woman in a personal protection order (PPO) case against her same sex partner. Lakeshore's client had been raped and stalked by her partner and had obtained a PPO to prohibit further contact. The clients partner then sought to terminate the PPO, however, Lakeshore was able to elicit testimony from the assailant that resulted in both the PPO staying in effect and criminal charges for the rape.

"Dave" was badly beaten by his partner of twenty years, suffering a broken cheekbone and numerous cuts and bruises. When Dave was taken to the hospital, his partner fled taking the couple's only car, all of their savings and leaving Dave financially and emotionally destitute. Suffering from severe emotional trauma and anxiety, as well as homebound, Dave called Affirmations for crisis intervention. Affirmations then referred Dave to Lakeshore for Legal assistance. Working with Affirmations, Lakeshore was able to get Dave supportive services from the domestic violence shelter and access to public benefits to forestall the termination of Dave's heat and light. Because the energy company was inappropriately holding Dave responsible for his partner's debt, Lakeshore was also able to get the back bill reduced by over $400. Dave said that the intervention of Affirmations and Lakeshore literally saved his life.

Because Justice for Some is No Justice at All.