The first-ever study of queer Latina women in Chicago reveals some disturbing news: not only do they face discrimination, but they also suffer from high rates of domestic violence.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a study of 300 LBTQ women conducted by the organizations Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Amigas Latinas. Forty-eight percent of the women said they faced racism from the white LGBTQ community, while 54% felt other Latinos weren't accepting of their sexuality. In addition to this combination of racial discrimination and homophobia, Latina LBTQ couples also have high rates of violence. Forty-nine percent of the women said a female partner had tried to isolate them from other people, 43% said a partner had pushed or hit them, and 31% said they'd been threatened with death. On the flip side, 45% said they had hit a female partner.
Study co-author Lourdes Torres says, "though this is distressing information, there's no reason to think there's a pathological link to the community. There's domestic violence in straight communities, too." It's not clear whether the rates of violence among Chicago's Latina LBTQ women are higher than among other groups — a 2007 report on the city's response to domestic violence didn't break out rates by race or sexuality. What is clear is that female-on-female abuse, often neglected in public conversations, is distressingly common. And Latina sufferers of this abuse, who may be marginalized by both LGBTQ and Latino communities, desperately need somewhere to turn.
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