Healthy Relationship Course for LGBTQ+ People

Register for this Free Course
“It showed us a different way to approach relationships. People are so ready to give up everything, and go on to the next. It’s helpful to make it sustainable.”
Course Participant
“I learned I can defuse the conversation. I’m trying to change myself, not my partner. I’ve been trying not to use bad language and be gentler in my tone. The way I communicate to my partner really effects the way he responds to me. I am trying to be more attentive to my partner and listen to him more. ”
Course Participant

About this course

Who: This class is designed for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, nonbinary, asexual, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who live in New Mexico. The skills taught are helpful in current and future relationships. Single and partnered folks are encouraged to participate. Partners of LGBTQ+ people are also invited. Must be 18 years old or older.

This class is hosted by Fierce Pride, an LGBTQ+ Health Advocacy organization for New Mexico. The teachers are Alex Ross-Reed, health educator, and Kenneth Winfrey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

What: Healthy Relationship Skills Course has 6 sessions over 3 weeks. Topics will include consent, nonviolent communication, empathetic listening, strategies to break destructive communication habits, and intersectional oppression and more. Activities will include writing reflections, discussion, and interactive role-play exercises. Prior to each class, we will send out the prework for participants to read or watch before class.

Healthy communication is a learned skill that improves the quality of our lives and relationships. The guiding principals of this course are consent, respect, and practice. Participants are encouraged to share and participate because we value the knowledge and experience participants bring to the class. We designed this class to allow opportunities for folks to choose a challenge by choice. No one is pressured to participate when they don’t want to; that is the basis of consent! People learn best when it is relevant to their lives and they can practice and share their skills. Our intent is to create a safe and fun learning community.

Where:  Online using Zoom meetings. Follow the link given in the prework to access the online classroom. All classes are live and interactive. You don’t need any software to use it.

You may access each class using Zoom:

Via computer (optimal)

Via smartphone app (optimal)

Via a telephone call

You can learn more about Zoom here:

Each session will be recorded and posted online (password protected) for participants to view or review. Recording will be posted within 24 hours of the course and will remain available to watch for the remainder of the course. If you can’t make a class, you can watch the recording, to catch up.


Monday, February 18th, 6 pm -7:30 pm Welcome, Introductions, and Consent

Wednesday, February 20th, 6 pm -7:30 pm Nonviolent Communication & Empathetic Listening

Monday, February 25th, 6 pm -7:30 pm Healthy Relationship Characteristics

Wednesday, February 27th, 6 pm -7:30 pm Homophobia and, sexism and, transphobia and, racism and, ableism and…

Monday, March 4th, 6 pm -7:30 pm Four behaviors that hurt communication/relationships

Wednesday, March 6th, 6 pm -7:30pm Stories of learning and growth

(If you miss a class, you can stream a recording of the course online for a limited time.)


Why: Building and sustaining healthy relationships is a life long process. You deserve love and respect. This class will teach you tools and skills to create nonviolent connections with others.

On completion of this class, participants will earn 6 Social Work CEUs. Counseling and social work CEUs are reciprocal.

How: Register on Eventbrite for your spot in the course. Complete the Pre-work for each session. If you are attending the course with your partner, please register individually. This way you’ll each get the prework in your email.

If you require ASL or other accommodations to fully participate, please email Alex.

Questions or comments? Email Alex.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people experience high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV). The data shows this often begins in adolescence and can repeat throughout a lifetime. Bisexual women experience much higher rates of IPV and sexual violence (SV) than the general population and gays and lesbians. Similarly, new data on the US transgender population shows that transgender people experience extremely high levels of all violence, discrimination, and lack of access to care and resources. Transgender people also experience high rates of IPV.

It Starts with Us

Preventing sexual violence starts with all of us.

Fierce Pride is hosting a online workshop series teaching healthy relationship skills to LGBTQ people in Spring 2017. Click here to submit your email for updates


Nationally, bisexual and lesbian women experience disproportional amounts of intimate partner violence, as reported in the The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Intimate partner violence (IPV) includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner. Intimate partner violence may occur among cohabitating or non-cohabitating romantic or sexual partners and among opposite or same sex couples (Walters, Jenkins, & Merrick, 2010).

Four in 10 lesbian women (43.8%), 6 in 10 bisexual women (61.1%), and 1 in 3
heterosexual women (35.0%) reported experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking within the context of an intimate partner relationship at least once during their lifetime. This translates to an estimated 714,000 lesbian women, 2 million bisexual women, and 38.3 million heterosexual women in the United States. (Walters, Jenkins, & Merrick, 2010)

The data shows that bisexual women are experience higher rates of sexual violence in all categories. They are also experiencing higher incidences of sexual violence and IPV over a lifetime. While the perpetrators against bisexual and heterosexual women are overwhelming male, female perpetrators make up 67.4% of IPV perpetrators against lesbian women. The majority of perpetrators against bisexual, and heterosexual men were female (bisexual men 78.5% and heterosexual men 99.5%). Most gay men (90.7%) reported having only male perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

Violence by an Intimate Partner (NISVS report 2010)
The lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by
an intimate partner was:
For women: For men:
– Lesbian – 43.8% – Gay – 26.0%
– Bisexual – 61.1% – Bisexual – 37.3%
– Heterosexual – 35.0% – Heterosexual – 29.0%

Lesbian women and gay men reported levels of intimate partner violence and sexual violence equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals (Walters, Jenkins, & Merrick, 2010). Gay men were at high risk for death at the hands of an intimate partner. In 2013, 76% of IPV homicide victims were gay men (Ahmed, Jindasurat, & Traub, 2014).

Nationally, the data on violence against transgender and gender non-conforming populations is also staggering. More than half (54%) of transgender respondents in the 2015 US Transgender Survey experienced some form of intimate partner violence. More than one-third (35%) experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, compared to 30% of the U.S. adult population (James, et al, 2016). Nearly one-quarter (24%) experienced severe physical violence by current or former partner, compared with 18% of the U.S. population (James, et al, 2016). Transgender populations experience unequal treatment or service for sexual violence, medical care, and police protection. Transgender people of color are even more likely to receive unequal service than white transgender people. Transgender people experience astronomically high rates of violence and discrimination. Perpetrators can use a person’s transgender status and therein societal discrimination to victimize their intimate partner. Respondents spoke about their IPV experiences.

“I was a victim of spousal abuse for over ten years. This grew worse when I
transitioned, as [my transition] became an easy justi cation for verbally,
emotionally and physically abusing me.”

“My trans status was used as a tool to [make me] stay with my former partner.
She would say things such as ‘no one else would ever love you.’” (James, et al, 2016)

According to the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were three times more likely to have been forced to have sex or experienced physical dating violence. Gender identity data was not captured in this survey. Lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) students were also more likely to have experienced sexual violence in the last year (Tomedi, et al, 2016). This data shows that violence against LGB people begins early in life.

Sexual violence prevention starts with youth. Youth experience and shape the culture and social norms around them. Youth can be the best agents of change with their peers.

What if your friend asks you if someone can consent to having sex if they’re drunk?

Get some tips on giving sound advice in situations like these:

The What-If Guide to Giving Sound Advice



Talking with teens about sexual violence and healthy relationships isn’t reserved just for health teachers and
parents. It doesn’t have to be a formal, lengthy, and uncomfortable lecture, either.
Check out these tips for talking to teens about relationships and consent.

Can You Talk About it?

1. Provide LGBT-specific Intimate Partner Violence prevention programs the develop healthy relationship skills.

2. Integrate LGBTQ relationships into a comprehensive sexual education for youth and create early-intervention programs for LGBTQ youth.

3. Focus prevention on populations most at risk. Bisexual and transgender populations have extremely high rates of IPV. LGBTQ populations with intersecting identities of undocumented, HIV-affected, youth, and people of color are disproportionately impacted by IPV.

4. Violence prevention programs should address at least one of the three types of violence. The first type of violence is perpetrated by heterosexual identified person against LGBTQ-indentified people. The second type of violence is in-community such as IPV between two LGBTQ-identified people, and the third type of violence are institutions such as policies that limit LGBTQ identified people’s ability to access resources or citizenship benefits.

5. Partner with LGBTQ community to assess the community need and readiness for SV and IPV prevention. Taylor programing to the needs of the community.

6. Increase local community resources capacity to serve the LGBTQ community through training staff and partnering with local LGBTQ organizations.

7. All anti-violence organizations should adopt and utilize an anti-oppression framework. Prevention programs should teach awareness of internalized oppression patterns.


Fierce Pride history of Sexual Violence Prevention Work

In 2015, alarming national data found that bisexual women and transgender people experience exceptionally high rates of sexual violence. Lesbians and gay men also experience higher rates of sexual violence than the general population. Fierce Pride received funding to assess experiences of violence within New Mexico’s LGBTQ community. Fierce Pride conducted community meetings focused on identifying root causes of sexual violence. The community members identified intimate partner violence as a wide-spread problem.

In 2016, Fierce Pride researched and reported on intimate partner violence root causes, and evidence-based prevention strategies. Fierce Pride developed and piloted a Healthy Relationships Skills Class for LGBTQ people in Farmington, New Mexico. Fierce Pride consulted on a statewide outreach campaign called It Starts with Us (

In 2017, Fierce Pride received funding to launch the Healthy Relationship Skills Class for LGBTQ people as an online course available to people across the state. In coordination with sexual violence prevention organizations throughout the state, Fierce Pride will launch It Starts With Us campaign via our blog posts and social media.


Ahmed, O., Jindasurat, C., & Traub, K. (2014). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2013 (Rep.). National Coalition of Anti-violence Programs.

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Ana , M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

Lang, K. S., Guerrero, C., Bergeron-Naper, M., Coulter-Thompson, E. I., & Przewoznik, J. (2012). Guide for Transformative Prevention Programming: Sexual Violence & Individuals who identify as LGBTQ [Pamphlet]. National Sexual Violence Resource Center and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Tomedi L, Oglesbee S, Padilla J, Green D, Peñaloza L, Reed D, 2017. The Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth in New Mexico: Data from the 2015 New Mexico Youth Risk & Resiliency Survey. New Mexico Department of Health; New
Mexico Public Education Department; and University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center.

Walters, M., Jenkins, L., & Merrick, M. (2010). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): Summary of Findings for 2010. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e621642012-003

Waters, Emily. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). (2016). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2015. New York, NY.