Edited by michael munson and Loree Cook-Daniels

Due: October 31, 2015

More than one-quarter of couples with one or more trans partners – indeed, one-quarter of all U.S. couples – experience intimate partner violence (physical, emotional, financial, and/or sexual abuse by one or both partners against the other). Despite the huge growth of the trans population and our astonishingly fast social and political gains, this violence in our homes has been largely invisible and unaddressed.

HOME: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY is an anthology that seeks to break that silence. Our goals are to compile a rich and varied selection of materials that brings intimate partner violence (IPV) in the trans community to light through:

  • Opening up the discussion;
  • Giving people involved in IPV relationships mirrors and contrasting portraits to help them recognize the patterns in their own lives;
  • Showing people that there is hope for change and that they, too, deserve and can have lives filled with supportive love; and
  • Offering tools and ideas that people involved in IPV relationships can use to make positive changes.

We welcome essays, stories, and poetry. Written pieces should be no longer than 2500 words. Submissions should be sent to both LoreeCD [at] aol [dot] com and tgwarrior [at] forge-forward [dot] org by October 31, 2015.

Possible topics are many; the following are just some ideas. If you would like to explore an idea not listed here, email LoreeCD [at] aol [dot] com or tgwarrior [at] forge-forward [dot] org to initiate a dialogue.

First person stories. How has IPV affected your life? If you are still in a violent relationship, what factors keep you there? What strategies have you found that help you stay? If the relationship has ended, what made that possible? What have you learned about yourself, your partner, and intimate partner violence? If you asked for help, what happened? What worked? What didn’t? Looking back, what factors led to you and your partner having a violent relationship? How has experiencing IPV shaped your life, your perspectives, and your beliefs?

Observer and helper stories. Although much IPV is never directly observed, the aftereffects are often visible and may even directly affect those outside of the couple, like children, parents, friends, and professionals. What did you see and what did you learn from the abuse that you witnessed? What factors helped you act or kept you from acting?

Locating the “T” in community. We are interested in two communities here: the trans community and the larger, mainstream community. How did either or both react to the IPV? Did the mainstream’s conceptions of “violence against women” or “gendered violence” help or hinder your (or the couple’s) ability to recognize and address the abuse within the partnership? Did norms within the trans community help or hinder? How did other trans people react when they learned of the IPV? If you or your partner went to mainstream agencies or professionals for help, how did they respond? If you tried to help a trans couple with IPV from within a trans or mainstream agency, did you encounter any barriers that had to be overcome? Has your trans community sponsored any educational events, rituals, or other activities addressing IPV within the community?

Stories of healing. There is a widespread belief that people who abuse their partners never change. Is that your experience? If it’s not, what are the factors that you think helped stop the abuse? If stopping the abuse for you meant leaving the relationship, how did you make that decision and then carry it out? How have you survived emotionally since then? Have you witnessed an IPV survivor learn how to have relationships free of violence? Did spirituality help or was it lost because of (or before) the IPV?

Tools, techniques, and resources. Home: Domestic Violence and the Transgender Community will include some existing resources such as trans-specific safety planning tool. If you know of resources we should consider publishing or if you have created something that has helped you or someone else, please let us know.

More about the scope of the book.

We use “transgender” very broadly. We include not only agender, gender non-binary, cross-dresser, and other lesser-known identities BUT ALSO non-transgender members of the transgender community, sometimes known as SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). Especially welcome are stories from non-trans partners and allies who have worked closely with trans couples experiencing IPV.

Transness or gender identity does not need to be a central theme of your writing. We do not agree that “cultural oppression” or “internalized transphobia” are the sole causes of IPV in couples that include one or two trans people; you may want to tell a story that only tangentially involves the gender identity of one or both partners. However, we do want the book as a whole to begin painting the picture of IPV’s impact on the trans community, so references to how the couple interacted with the trans community (or didn’t) are welcome.

We have purposefully not used “victim” and “perpetrator” language in this call for submissions. We are interested in stories from people who have used violence as well as those who have violence used against them. Indeed, we believe that many (if not most) people involved in IPV relationships have experienced both. Just tell us your truth, because that is how we will learn to teach each other how to love better.

About the editors: michael munson and Loree Cook-Daniels are partners and senior staff at FORGE, Inc., a national transgender and SOFFA (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies) organization based in Milwaukee, WI. FORGE has long been involved in intimate partner violence and sexual violence issues, and currently holds a federal grant to provide training and technical assistance to service providers who work with transgender survivors of violence.