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In other words, it is not just a question of seeing the existence of different sexual orientations, it is rather recognizing that societies actively reproduce certain forms of sexuality to the detriment of others – which they try to keep under control as minorities. Therefore, heterosexism is linked to the social structuring of the privileges of heterosexuality in both legal and social terms, disqualifying non-heterosexualities. Heterosexism is also anchored in a gender system that reinforces the equivalences between sex and gender, based on a socially constructed sexual difference regime that values, symbolically and culturally, the male at the expense of the female (Butler, 1993).
Linked to this line of research, heteronormativity emerged as a concept that reflects the way in which heterosexuality has become the norm for thinking about the behaviors and identities of all people in a given society or culture, institutionalizing heterosexuality at the center of a gender order that favors the masculine (Costa et al., 2010).
In turn, the concept of homophobia appears initially linked to the “fear of being in closed spaces with homosexuals” (Hegarty and Massey, 2006: 6). Only later did the term come to be seen and interpreted as a negative attitude towards homosexual people.
Thus, victims are usually subjected to double stigmatization or a “double closet” (Carneiro, 2012; Nunan, 2004), as they have to deal with both the fact that they are LG and the fact that they are being target of violence in the context of an LG relationship.
In addition to the stigma associated with sexual orientation and victimization processes, there is often the threat of outing, that is, the imminence of disclosing the victim’s sexual orientation without his consent and reinforcing social insult, that is, the accentuation of guilt and shame (Moleiro et al., 2016). The perpetrators may also inhibit the victims from reporting the violence to the competent authorities, sometimes claiming that the cases do not constitute real situations of domestic violence (because they are atypical), sometimes discrediting the support system (Goldberg, 2016). These factors, which in turn generate a double invisibility (Moleiro et al., 2016), contribute for many cases of violence to remain anonymous. Considering that the support system of LG people may be reduced by the non-acceptance of their sexual orientation, in situations of victimization, social isolation can have very harmful effects. It should be recalled, for illustrative purposes, that LG people are at a greater risk of developing depressive and anxiolytic symptoms and of committing suicide than heterosexual people (Reuter et al., 2017). The network of social and institutional responses is, on the other hand, very fragile, which aggravates the difficulties listed above (Goldberg, 2016).
The assumption of the singularities of violence in the intimacy suffered and practiced by LG people justifies, therefore, the development of studies that better allow them to hear their voices and assess their needs, an objective that guided the study presented below.
The present qualitative study sought to understand how a part of the gay population represents and justifies dating violence practiced by same-sex couples, whether gay or lesbian. It involved 17 male individuals, with a gay sexual orientation and aged between 19 and 29 years old (M = 24.0