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The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding
crimes unrelated to their sexual orientation (Herek et al., 1999; see also Huebner et al., 2004; Otis and Skinner, 1996).
Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2010), as well as some studies based on probability samples, suggest that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are prevalent in the United States. Using a probability sample of 912 Latino self-identified gay and bisexual men living in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, Diaz and colleagues (2001) found that 10 percent of this sample reported experiencing violence as an adult due to their sexual orientation. Similarly, a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2001), based on a probability sample of 405 lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults, found that 32 percent of the sample had ever been targeted for violence because of their sexual orientation. In a study using data from the Knowledge Networks panel (n = 662), Herek (2009b) provides prevalence estimates of hate crimes among self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Approximately 20 percent of respondents reported they had experienced a crime against their person or property based on their sexual orientation, with gay men being more likely than lesbians or bisexuals to have had such experiences. More than one-third of gay men (38 percent) reported experiencing hate crimes against their person or property, compared with 11–13 percent of lesbians, bisexual men, and bisexual women (Herek, 2009b).
Beyond hate crimes, couples with same-sex partners may also be at risk for intimate partner violence. Few studies have examined intimate partner violence in probability samples of same-sex partners. Tjaden and colleagues (1999), using data from the National Violence Against Women Survey, examined intimate partner violence in same- and different-sex cohabitating relationships (n = 8,000 men, 8,000 women), although sexual orientation was not assessed. Among the 1 percent of respondents (65 men, 79 women) in a current or past same-sex cohabitating relationship, rates of physical and sexual assault by a same-sex partner were similar for men and women. However, men experienced violence from a male partner at a rate similar to that of women with a male partner but more often than men or women with a female partner (Tjaden et al., 1999). Greenwood and colleagues (2002) examined battering victimization in intimate relationships in a probability sample (n = 2,881) of men who have sex with men from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. More than a third of the men reported at least one form of abuse.
Much research has focused on substance use among LGB adults, most of it suggesting that substance use is a problem for these populations. However, the most definitive evidence is available from population-based studies of substance use in heterosexual and nonheterosexual samples.