October 14, 2020

Love & Belonging

Content developed by YWCA Spokane Domestic Violence Action Month Committee.

YWCA Spokane Learn & Give Challenge

Today’s challenge will be focused on love and belonging, specifically through the experiences of transgender survivors of intimate partner violence.

Share online with #YWCALearn&GiveChallenge

ONE MISSION | The Challenge | Learn | Give | Intersectionality | Physiological | Safety | Love & Belonging | Esteem | Self-Actualization | Thank You

A Survivor Story

As preferred by the survivor, Kaylee, a YWCA Spokane Advocate, reads a story provided by a transgender man who has been impacted by intimate partner violence in order to provide perspective about the complexities of an abusive relationship.

WARNING: A survivor’s story is included in the below video. Some of the content may be distressing. YWCA’s 24hr helpline is available if needed: 326-2255.

Love & Belonging

Love and belonging on Maslow’s hierarchy relates to social human interaction including friendships, family bonds (both biological and chosen family), as well as physical and emotional intimacy.  Established emotional bonds that achieve a feeling of elevated kinship can also be achieved through social groups such as a club, union, support group, or by contributing towards a team of coworkers.

While the pathway towards healing in Maslow’s hierarchy is reflected in a linear fashion, in our experience, supporting a survivor and their needs often does not follow this defined order. Situations are unique to the lived experiences and circumstances of each person. This is true for all survivors including transgender and gender diverse survivors.

Before moving on, it is important to define the terms “transgender” and “cisgender.” As shared by womens-health.com, transgender, also called ‘trans,’ is used to describe people whose gender identities don’t match the genders they were assigned at birth. Cisgender, also known as ‘cis,’ is used to describe people who identify comfortably with the gender they were assigned at birth.

As shared earlier in the challenge, we know survivors may stay in a relationship for many reasons. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that transgender people experience poverty at twice the national rate and that transgender people of color experience poverty at four times the national rate. Without basic needs being met, there are many reasons why survivors might stay with their abuser. The survivor may have feelings of love and belonging, even though abuse is present, which could include stable housing, attention, financial support and other essential needs. An abuser may also use tactics to maintain power and control over their victim specifically geared towards a person’s gender.

The Facts

According to a 2010 study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and the National Center for Victims of Crime that surveyed 648 domestic violence agencies, sexual assault centers, prosecutors’ offices, law enforcement agencies, and child victim services, 94% of respondents said they were not serving LGBTQ survivors of IPV and sexual violence. Additionally, survivors who identified as men were far less likely to be able to access services, particularly domestic violence shelters, due to the heteronormative understanding of IPV that exclusively looks at cisgender men abusing cisgender women. According to the report, exclusionary service practices kept many transgender women from accessing the support they needed. In addition, according to a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, more than half (54%) of transgender individuals experienced some form of intimate partner violence, including acts involving coercive control and physical harm. What these statistics demonstrate is the prevalence of IPV against transgender folks and some of the challenges they face in leaving abusive relationships. The ability to access basic necessities and decreasing the barriers in accessing essential services is paramount in aiding a survivor in their freedom to leave an abusive relationship.

YWCA Spokane Serves All Proudly

YWCA Spokane provides services to help clients address their basic needs as well as programs to foster love and belonging, whether the client is still in the relationship or not. Clients may need to rebuild foundations of support such as friendships, intimacy, trust, and acceptance.

Services include advocacy-based counseling to focus on emotional and safety needs, support groups to create friendships and grow community connections, an art group to provide a creative outlet, and a Life Skills class to aid clients in preparing for jobs and the struggles of daily life. These services assist clients who have experienced similar situations by building a foundation and support network for them to continue their journey in healing from intimate partner domestic violence.

If You Have…

5 Minutes


10 Minutes


15 Minutes

and and
Read this article  
that discusses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in regards to transgender folks.
and Watch this video 
discussing domestic violence and the barriers trans men face when trying to access services.
and Read this article
about domestic violence against trans women and reasons why they are particularly vulnerable.

Local LGBTQ+ Resources

  • North Idaho Pride Alliance empowers and inspires LGBTQ+ people and Allies to lead authentic, healthy, and successful lives.
  • OutSpokane promotes diversity for Spokane’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and citizens with identities beyond the binaries (LGBTQA+).
  • Solace is an app that provides information and resources to guide transgender people through whatever process of gender transition they desire.
  • Spectrum Center is focused on creating a safe, intersectional, intergenerational, LGBTQIA2S+ community gathering space that celebrates resiliency.
  • Spokane Trans Map is an app that shares transgender friendly businesses in Spokane.

Want To Learn More?

Below, you can find additional articles about IPV experienced by the transgender community.

Daily Reflection

Once you have completed today’s challenge, take a moment to reflect on any insights you experienced. How did the challenge make you feel? What is something you learned? Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge? Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information. Consider tracking your reflections or start an online group with friends to encourage daily sharing with each other about the challenge topics.

Share online with #YWCALearn&GiveChallenge

ONE MISSION | The Challenge | Learn | Give | Intersectionality | Physiological | Safety | Love & Belonging | Esteem | Self-Actualization | Thank You

Sign Up For The “GIVE” Portion Of The Challenge

You can help us meet our financial goal for our ONE MISSION campaign through a fun, collaborative fundraising challenge that you can customize to make your own. Participants can adjust their goals, track their progress, and even win prizes!

Join us and help YWCA raise $275,000 by October 31st through our ONE MISSION campaign.



At YWCA Spokane, we see our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women as one mission, not two.

We are proud to launch YWCA Spokane’s new ONE MISSION campaign, a two month celebration of those who live out YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. This campaign honors our 2020 Women of Achievement award winners, invite you to take YWCA’s Learn & Give challenge during Domestic Violence Action Month, and will look to raise $275,000 in service to the 17,000+ women, children, and families supported by YWCA Spokane each year.


By: Erica Schreiber

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