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Julia Kefalinos Julia Kefalinos
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Domestic Violence And The Transgender Community


It’s a well-established fact that domestic violence is not limited to one gender, ethnicity, social or financial status.  But many people do not realize that people who are part of the transgender community experience higher rates of victimization than those seen among the general population.  The fact is, three to five out of 10 transgender individuals suffer violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some time in their lives, compared to under 35 percent of other groups. They are twice as likely to be intimidated, threatened, or harassed in the context of their intimate partnerships. Because these people do not conform to traditional ideas about gender, oftentimes partners feel the need to exert power and control in order to reinforce the notion of gender norms. And like in all communities, those who have experienced abuse earlier in life are more likely to enter abusive relationships as adults.

Early Trauma Continues 

For many transgender individuals, abuse begins long before adulthood.  They have experienced rejection at multiple levels as children from their families, neighborhoods, schools, and churches. They have been told from a young age that who they are is not okay, and that discrimination, isolation and bullying set the tone for future trauma. And like in all communities, those who have experienced abuse earlier in life are more likely to experience violence in relationships as adults.

Lack of Trust for Law Enforcement and Others 

Because transgender people suffer violence at the hands of police at triple the rate of the general population, many individuals are reluctant to involve law enforcement to intervene with domestic violence issues. Even disclosing their relationship to the medical community or social services can be risky, as so many judgmental and negative reactions ensue.  Indeed, many transgender individuals get the impression that they’ve gotten what they deserve when they report domestic violence. Even responders who have the best of intentions are susceptible to using micro-aggressions and allowing prejudices to guide their reactions when interacting with transgender individuals.  All of these issues make reporting instances of domestic violence less likely for members of the transgender community.


Transgender Americans have been given hope with the passage of the trans-inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to men as well.  It improves the resources available to victims of domestic violence, requiring service providers, hospitals and shelters who choose to accept federal funding to provide inclusive responses to victims.  That means the professionals who respond to these incidents will be better educated, and policies will be gender affirming.  In time, perhaps these resources help to create a safe space and will foster the trust of the transgender community.

Your Safety is Our Concern 

At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, you are our priority.  We want you to feel safe here in our office, at home, at work, and elsewhere.  We pledge to use the law to assist victims of domestic violence.  For passionate, caring, and effective legal action, schedule a confidential consultation with our Miami domestic violence attorneys today.

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