Posted by on February 1, 2013 - 10:03am

The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

Bisexual women (61.1%) reported a significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner when compared to both lesbian (43.8%) and heterosexual women (35.0%).

On January 25, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first of its kind report on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking victimization by respondents’ sexual orientation. This report highlights the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, using 2010 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).

The findings in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation Report underscore the importance of prevention efforts. NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at the specific needs of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) communities, state and national organizations, and also a way to monitor and measure these efforts. The combined efforts of public health, criminal justice, service providers, and other stakeholders can improve our knowledge about IPV, SV, and stalking in LGB communities and improve the availability of prevention programs and services for those affected by violence.

More information:   Access the report

Posted by on May 11, 2011 - 8:39am

According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, researchers need to engage more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in health studies.   The scarcity of research (among this population) yields an incomplete picture of LGBT health status and needs, which is further fragmented by the tendency to treat sexual and gender minorities as a single homogeneous group.

We have only recently  learned that race and sex play an important role in health status.      "It was only when researchers made deliberate efforts to engage women and racial and ethnic minorities in studies that we discovered differences in how some diseases occur in and affect specific populations.   Routine collection of information on race and ethnicity has expanded our understanding of conditions that are more prevalent among various groups or that affect them differently.   We should strive for the same attention to and engagement of sexual and gender minorities in health research," said Robert Graham, professor of family medicine at U. of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and chair of the committee issuing the report.

Because LGBT individuals make up a minority of the population, researchers face challenges in recruiting sufficient numbers of these individuals to yield meaningful data.   Stigma experienced by gender and sexual minorities can make them reluctant to disclose their orientation, worsening the problem.

The report recommends that federally funded surveys should proactively collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as they routinely gather information on race and ethnicity.  Information on patients' sexual orientation and gender identity also should be collected in electronic health records, provided that privacy concerns can be satisfactorily addressed, the committee said.   The U.S.  National Institute of Health should support the development of standardized measures of sexual orientation and gender identity for use in federal surveys and other areas of data collection.

At our Institute of Women's Health Research at Northwestern U., we grappled with this issue for our Illinois Women's Health Registry which now has over 6000 women enrolled who are interested in participating in research.   Almost 3 % of our participants have identified themselves at lesbian.   One of the unresolved issues is how to include transgendered individuals who may be male or female at birth (their biological sex) but now live as female or male, respectively (their gender identity).   Can they only complete the Registry if they are born female, yet would that deny their gender identity as male?   This is certainly a complex issue and one that needs attention as sexual orientation becomes more mainstreamed and accepted.  The health risks of this populations could be significant since individuals undergoing a sex change are exposed to a variety of drugs and hormones that could influence health.  Guidance in this area would be very helpful to us.