The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association on Tuesday announced the upcoming launch of its LGBT Relationship Violence Project to help educate medical professionals about domestic violence issues affecting gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons. The project, which will be officially unveiled at a plenary session and symposium at GLMA's annual conference, held October 21-23 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., is being funded through a $50,000 grant from the Blue Shield of California Foundation.
A new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects released last week reported 6,523 documented cases of domestic violence reported in LGBT relationships in 2003, including six domestic violence-related deaths. The figure represents a 13% increase in cases reported from 2002 to 2003.
"Domestic violence is a hugely ignored health issue in the LGBT communities, affecting one in three LGBT relationships," says Susan Holt, a nationally recognized expert on LGBT domestic violence and program manager for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's STOP Partner Abuse/Domestic Violence Program. "This conference is an important step for our community in facing the violence in our midst and systematically challenging it. Medical professionals can play a pivotal role not only in identifying domestic violence but also in educating others about the problem."
"These presentations [at the GLMA annual conference] mark the beginning of GLMA's essential work to educate the medical community about the often-hidden but brutal reality of LGBT relationship violence," said GLMA president Kenneth Haller, MD. "Medical providers within the LGBT community can play a critical role in helping to detect, address, and prevent LGBT relationship violence. We are proud to work with the Blue Shield of California Foundation on this important project."