Researching gay and lesbian domestic violence: The journey of a non-lgbt researcher


The purpose of this article is to present the author’s personal journey as a heterosexual woman conducting research on domestic violence within the LGBT community. The contributions of these studies to the theoretical and knowledge base of this social problem provide evidence of the ability of a nonaffiliated member to produce meaningful and sensitive research within an oppressed population even on a sensitive topic. In this article the author presents her rationale, as an outsider, for being interested in the LGBT community and, more importantly, her adoption of eight innovative strategies to overcome methodological barriers. These strategies emerged from her initially designing these studies based on the feminist participatory research model. Each strategy is discussed with particular attention paid to the one that most influenced her lifeimmersion into the culture. Also presented are the exchanges of rigor for relevance in her research, and her perceptions of the costs and benefits of conducting research within a stigmatized population.


School of Social Work

Document Type





Domestic violence, Feminist participatory research, Gay, Lesbian, Research methodology

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services