Domestic Abuse of LGBTQ+ People

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament am 1:24 pm ar 9 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maggie Chapman Maggie Chapman Green 1:24, 9 Mai 2024

I thank Collette Stevenson for securing the debate and for highlighting that people experience domestic abuse and intimate partner violence within a wide range of situations, identities and relationships.

Collette Stevenson’s comprehensive motion raises many important issues, of which I would like to focus on just one: the experience of trans and non-binary survivors of domestic abuse. I thank the Scottish Transgender Alliance, LGBT Youth Scotland, the Equality Network, Stonewall and others for their painstaking and sensitive work in that area.

Trans people experience disproportionately high levels of domestic abuse. That abuse includes physical and sexual violence, emotional and financial abuse and controlling and coercive behaviour. Perpetrators deny their trans partners access to essential medication and treatment to prevent them from expressing their identity. They undermine their decisions and manipulate their vulnerability, intentionally leaving them ashamed of who they are and guilty about living with integrity.

Trans partners are often isolated from family and friends, and are sometimes outed before they are ready. Those who are parents may face denial of contact with their children and encouragement of those children to reject or abuse them. We know that potential predators seek out people who are vulnerable because of their previous experiences of abuse, trauma or rejection.

Trans and non-binary children and young people are disproportionately likely to be estranged from their families and to have undergone abuse, including conversion practices. The cumulative and combined mental health impacts of family and intimate partner abuse can be devastating, especially for young people and those who are early in their transition process.

All those forms and consequences of abuse are made much worse by toxic media and political narratives. The myths and tropes of transphobia serve to normalise abuse, embed feelings of worthlessness and isolation and block pathways to support and recovery. It is hard to seek help when you are told that you do not deserve it, that this is the only relationship that you will ever have and that safety and respect do not apply to you. It is hard to find help when your family and friends turn away and when you are still learning the norms that cis people have been taught every day of their lives. It is hard to contact support services when political rhetoric says that a refuge is no safe place for you.

Those services—I refer members to my entry in the register of interests on that—have been supporting trans people safely for many years, but that good practice is too often invisible or vilified. What can we do? How can we in the Parliament, with the privilege that we have, show our solidarity and care for our trans and non-binary neighbours who are enduring such abuse?

We can be courageous, by speaking out against the rhetoric of hate and fear and by recognising the scale and depth of the problem and the ways in which political discourse and political choices have failed those who we ought to protect. We can be sensitive, by working with and supporting civil society organisations that have built expertise, learning from them and—most of all—from transgender and non-binary people. We can be fair, by properly funding services that address all forms of domestic abuse, including those that offer specialist support for minority and intersectional survivors. We can be progressive, by acting robustly and radically to address misogyny, including trans misogyny, and by bringing in a comprehensive ban on conversion practices and ensuring that young and older people can access the healthcare, respect and dignified processes that they still need and deserve.

I would like to speak once more to the trans community—our neighbours, our friends and our family. Much has changed, and for the worse, but our solidarity and care remain. You are treasured and you are not forgotten.