Prevention Program Specialist
We have an issue with our understanding of stalking. There is a vital piece of the puzzle missing, and that piece is the impact of stalking in the LGBTQ+ community.
Here’s what we know: transgender, bisexual, and queer folks experience stalking at somewhat higher rates than folks who are straight and/or cisgender. Additionally, there is an even higher likelihood that LGBTQ+ folks will NOT report their experiences with stalking for fear of stigma and discrimination. This means an already vulnerable population is being victimized more, and accessing support and justice services less because of systemic barriers to these services.
So what can we do about this? Here are my three suggestions with: targeted research, inclusivity training and community-centered outreach.
There is almost no research on the impact of stalking in the LGBTQ+ community, and that must change immediately. Research fuels strategic planning, initiatives and vision. To advance equity and inclusion efforts, it is crucial to have data that supports said efforts.
In order to provide inclusive and relevant services to LGBTQ+ individuals, service providers and members of the justice system need adequate training on how to best support the LGBTQ+ community. Anecdotally, we know that it is common for LGBTQ+ folks to opt not to access needed support and justice services rather than experience stigma while accessing services.
After research and training, the next step is to link LGBTQ+ folks to support and justice services through outreach efforts centered within the community. We know that folks are more likely to access services if they see themselves in the people and companies behind the services. Visibility still matters, even in 2021!
So let’s bring this all together – we have more work to do! Let’s work together to decrease barriers and stigma and increase equity and inclusion, so that all members of our community can access support and justice for stalking violence.
Source: Langenderfer-Magruder, L., Walls, N. E., Whitfield, D. L., Kattari, S. K., & Ramos, D. (2020). Stalking Victimization in LGBTQ Adults: A Brief Report. Journal of interpersonal violence, 35(5-6), 1442–1453. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517696871