A follower reached out to me recently on the heels of a Love and Hip Hop episode. I’m not sure if he knew, but this is (sadly) one of my favorite series on TV and I have seen nearly every episode. Well, this season the Miami spinoff features three gay men in somewhat of a love triangle. In recent years the series has gotten much friendlier to gay storylines – probably because they realized the only people watching this trash are women and gay men. That said, I applaud their efforts to expand gay exposure in hip hop, a community that notoriously bashes gay men.
At any rate, my follower pointed out that on a recent episode of Miami, Bobby Lytes (gay rapper and Trina’s cousin) confronts his boyfriend who he suspects he has been creeping with a guy from his past. Bobby then gets into a physical altercation with his boyfriend, which was almost entirely shown on the final episode. Furthermore, there was no PSA or resources on domestic violence which are often shown after serious topics on the show. There certainly would have been a PSA if a heterosexual couple got into a physical fight on camera. Without reviewing every single Love and Hip Hop fight, I have to admit that it felt like they showed a lot more of this “gay fight” than they would in a heterosexual romantic relationship and there was no PSA when I watched.
So what gives? Is gay domestic violence being treated differently by the media? This would be no surprise. As with everything, the gay community has to fight and wait for equal treatment and exposure – even when it comes to our Love and Hip Hop representation. The reason I felt this was important enough to post is because domestic violence in gay relationships is unique and needs a platform. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a page on LGBTQ abuse and some of the ways it differs from heterosexual domestic violence.
Here are some examples I summarize from them:
- In relationships where one or neither of the partners are “out,” this can be used as a power tactic by the abusive partner threatening to out the other in retaliation for something.
- The abusive partner may tell the other that no one will help them because of who they are and that they deserve the abuse.
- The abusive partner may manipulate the fact that the other partner has fewer resources and people to support them through the abuse (i.e. turning family or friends against the abused partner so they feel isolated and take the abuse.)
- Portraying the violence as mutual or as a trait of masculinity that should be tolerated.
That last point is an interesting one that connects to this Love and Hip Hop episode. It’s almost as if they aired this particular “gay fight” because it is not the same or as taboo as violence in heterosexual relationships. Boys are allowed to fight boys, so we can air this. Or, even worse, they may have felt that Bobby Lytes could not or did not do much damage to the boyfriend, so it was akin to a “girl fight,” which they air all the time. At any rate, the fact that there was no domestic violence PSA signals that domestic violence in gay relationships are not enough of a hot topic to producers or perhaps even viewers. I won’t lie – before this was brought to my attention I didn’t think too much about it. I’m so glad it was brought to my attention because gay domestic violence deserves a platform in the same way that all domestic violence does. It is never ok and as gay people, the domestic violence we potentially face has unique qualities we need to be aware of.
There are many resources for LGBTQ+ people suffering from domestic violence – here are some:
https://www.hrc.org/blog/common-myths-about-lgbtq-domestic-violence (this last one has a ton of numbers and organizations at the bottom that can help)