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All Means ALL: Advocating for the Needs of LGBTQ Survivors

July 12, 2019

Every survivor deserves access to services, safety, and justice. Survivors in the LGBTQ community face unique challenges and barriers to safety. In particular, transgender survivors of color experience epidemic rates of violence and increasing hostility.

According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, which had more than 27,000 participants from across the country, more than half of transgender respondents reported experiencing intimate partner violence, including acts involving coercive control and physical harm. Nearly half reported experiencing sexual assault. Further, while comprehensive homicide data is not available, at least 128 transgender people have been killed since 2013. This includes dozens of homicides at the hands of an abusive partner – with many more going uncounted.

In 2013, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) became the first federal law to include nondiscrimination provisions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The law also named LGBTQ people as an underserved community, expanding the kinds of grants and funds available to states and local programs in order to better serve LGBTQ survivors. These provisions are still needed to ensure that services and safety are available to everyone who needs assistance.

The House bill to expand and reauthorize VAWA in 2019, H.R. 1585, ensures these provisions will remain in place while increasing support for other underserved communities – including expanding tribal jurisdiction to better protect American Indian and Alaska Native survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Unfortunately, some opponents to the reauthorization of VAWA have relied on inaccurate and harmful rhetoric, even though there is clear evidence that increasing access for transgender survivors does not decrease safety for other survivors. Domestic violence organizations, shelters, and law enforcement leaders all agree: transgender victims being served alongside other victims is appropriate and not a safety issue. We cannot let the hard-won gains of 2013 be rolled back.

When we protect the most underserved, all members of our communities benefit. NNEDV advocates for a VAWA for ALL survivors that includes protections that protects survivors and communities living on the margins.

Passing a VAWA that strives to meet the needs of ALL survivors is one step towards a safer, prouder future for everyone. Click here to urge your Senators to pass a VAWA for all.