The Inherent Limitations of Gender-Based Violence to the Exclusion of LGBTIQ: A Guide for Social Workers


  • Goitseone Emelda Leburu Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa
  • Nathaniel Phuti Kgadima Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa
  • Kgashane Johannes Malesa Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa



Gender, gender-based violence, LGBTIQ, social work, South Africa


Drawing from the queer theory, this article strives to understand the scourge of gender-based violence against members of the homosexual community through a literature review. There is a gap in understanding this scourge against LGBTIQ. Additionally, there is a dearth of research on GBV within the social work fraternity despite the profession’s mandate to protect vulnerable groups. A comprehensive understanding of this hate crime is critically important in the current times where incidents of violence based on one’s gender are on the rise in South Africa. Social workers are in a privileged position to educate communities about these appalling crimes and to inform inclusive policies to curb this pandemic against members of the homosexual community.


Abaver, D. T., & Cishe, E. N. 2018. Violence, abuse and discrimination: Key factors militating against control of HIV/AIDS among the LGBTI sector. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, 15(1), 60-70. DOI:

Ali, S., & Barden, S. 2015. Considering the cycle of coming out: Sexual minority identity development. Professional Counsellor, 5(4), 501-515. DOI:

Baptist, J & Allen, K. 2008. A family’s coming out process: Systematic change and multiple realities. Contemporary Family therapy: An International Journal, 30(2), 92-110. DOI:

Beyene, A. S., Chojenta, C., Roba, H. S., Melka, A. S., & Loxton, D. 2019. Gender-based violence among female youths in educational institutions of Sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews, 8(1), 59. DOI:

Bloom, A. 2018. A new “shield of the weak”: Continued paternalism of domestic violence services in Uruguay. Violence against women, 24(16), 1949-1966. DOI:

Bloom, S. 2008. Violence against women and girls: A compendium of monitoring and evaluation indicators. Chapel Hill, NC: MEASURE Evaluation.

Blondeel, K., Vasconcelos, Gracia-Moreno., Stephenson, R., Temmerman, M & Toskin, I. 2018. Violence motivated by perception of sexual orientation and gender identity: A systematic review. Systematic Reviews; 96(29-41E) Bulletin of the World Health Organisation. DOI:

Bradbury-Jones, C., Appleton, J. V., Clark, M., & Paavilainen, E. 2019. A profile of gender-based violence research in Europe: Findings from a focused mapping review and synthesis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 20(4), 470-483. DOI:

Butler, A. 2010. Homosexuality is un-African: A contemporary analysis of human rights consequences of being LGBTI in Africa. South Africa: North-West University. DOI:

Carroll, A., & Itaborahy, L. P. 2015. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual. Trans and Intersex Association. State Sponsored Homophobia.

Casey, E., Carlson, J., Two Bulls, S., & Yager, A. 2018. Gender transformative approaches to engaging men in gender-based violence prevention: A review and conceptual model. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19(2), 231-246. DOI:

Cold-Ravnkilde, S. M. (2019). Contested norms in fragmented institutions: Gender equality in South Africa’s development cooperation. Progress in Development Studies, 19(3), 211-231. DOI:

Dayile, Q. 2017. Somizi urges churches to come clean about their views on Homosexuality Archive/somizi-urges-churches-to-come-clean-about-their-views-on-homosexuality-20170728. [Accessed 03 February 2020]

Davids, N. 2020. Reconceiving a World Around Our Bodies: Universities, Gender-Based Violence and Social Justice. In University Education, Controversy and Democratic Citizenship (pp. 13-30). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. DOI:

DeKeseredy, W., Hall-Sanchez, A., Nolan, J., & Schwartz, M. 2017. A campus LGBTQ community's sexual violence and stalking experiences: The contribution of pro-abuse peer support. Journal of Gender-based Violence, 1(2), 169-185. DOI:

Devji, Z. Z. 2016. Forging paths for the African queer: Is there an “African” mechanism for realising LGBTIQ rights? Journal of African Law, 60(3), 343-363. DOI:

Deloatch-Williams, A. 2020. Gay-Affirmative Social work practice with homeless lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. PhD Diss, Walden University: Walden.

DiDiRi Collective. 2013. DiDiRi Collective Literature Review: LGBTI Rights and Health. Compiled by HIVOS South Africa, June 2013.

Disch, L. 2009. Radical Democracy and the Politics of Representation. Theory & Event, 12(2). DOI:

Dlamini, J. 2020. Gender-Based Violence: Twin Pandemic to COVID-19. Critical Sociology, 1-8. DOI:

Downie, R. 2014. Revitalizing the Fight against Homophobia in Africa: A report of the CSIS Health Policy Centre. Centre for the Strategic & International Studies; Washington DC.

Dube, M. 2017. The ordeal of “Property stripping” from windows in a peri-urban community: The case of selected ward in Binga District, Zimbabwe; Social work/Maatskaplike Wek, 53(3); 340-355. DOI:

Finchilescu, G., & Dugard, J. 2021. Experiences of gender-based violence at a South African university: Prevalence and effect on rape myth acceptance. Journal of interpersonal Violence, 36(5-6), NP2749-NP2772. DOI:

Foss, S. 2017. A guide to social work advocacy for transgender adolescents and young adults. San Marcos, Texas; Texas State University. (Honours Thesis).

Fry, M. W., Skinner, A. C., & Wheeler, S. B. 2019. Understanding the relationship between male gender socialization and gender-based violence among refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 20(5), 638-652. DOI:

Garrett, P. M. 2013. Social Work and social theory: Making Connections. Bristol: Policy Press. DOI:

Gitari, E., & Walters, M. A. 2020. Hate crimes against the LGBT community in the Commonwealth.

Gerber, P., Raj, S., Wilkinson, C., & Langlois, A. 2021. Protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people around the world: Beyond marriage equality and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Alternative Law Journal, 1037969X20986658. DOI:

Global Legal Research Centre. 2014. Laws on homosexuality in African nations. Washington, DC: The Law Library of Congress.

Hanckel, B., Vivienne, S., Byron, P., Robards, B., & Churchill, B. 2019. ‘That’s not necessarily for them’: LGBTIQ+ young people, social media platform affordances and identity curation. Media, Culture & Society, 41(8), 1261-1278. DOI:

Hicks, s. & Jeyasingham, D. 2016. Social work, queer theory and after: A genealogy of sexuality theory in neoliberal times. The British Journal of Social Work, 1(17); 1-28.

Human Rights Watch. 2018. “I Have to Leave to Be Me”: Discriminatory Laws against LGBT People in the Eastern Caribbean. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch. 2015. World report 2015: Events of 2014. Policy Press. DOI:

Judge, M. 2017. Blackwashing homophobia: Violence and the politics of sexuality, gender and race. New York & London: Routledge. DOI:

Jakobsen, H. 2014. What’s gendered about gender-based violence? An empirically grounded theoretical exploration from Tanzania. Gender & Society, 28(4), 537-561. DOI:

Jenkins, M., Lambert, E. G., & Baker, D. N. 2009. The attitudes of black and white college students toward gays and lesbians. Journal of Black Studies, 39(4), 589-613. DOI:

Johnston, L. 2016. Gender and sexuality, I: Genderqueer geo-graphies? Progress in Human Geography, 40(5), 668-678. DOI:

Kiss, L., Quinlan-Davidson, M., Olle, T, P., Pasquero, L., Hogg, C & Zimmerman, C.T. 2020. The health of male and LGBT survivors of conflict-relate sexual violence. All survivors project, 2020. United Nations:

Kondakov, A. 2019. The influence of the ‘gay-propaganda’ law on violence against LGBTIQ people in Russia: Evidence from criminal court rulings. European Journal of Criminology, 1477370819887511. DOI:

Lewis, R., Rowe, M., & Wiper, C. 2018). Misogyny online: Extending the boundaries of hate crime. Journal of Gender-based Violence, 2(3), 519-536. DOI:

Logie C. H. 2013. Stigma towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Swaziland and Lesotho.

Mabvurira, V., Motsi, D, P., Masuka, T & Chigondo, E, E. 2012. The politics of sexual identities in Zimbabwe: A Social Work Perspective? International Journal of Humanities and Scial Sciences, 2(13), 218–223.McFee, E. 2016. The double bind of “playing double”: Passing and identity among ex-combatants in Colombia. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 22(1), 52. DOI:

Masri, A. 2018. Equal Rights, Unequal Protection: Institutional Failures in Protecting and Advocating for Victims of Same-Sex Domestic Violence in Post-Marriage Equality Era. Tul. JL & Sexuality, 27, 75.

McEwen, H. 2018. The U.S. pro-family movement and sexual politics in Africa. PhD Diss, University of the Witwatersrand.

Meer, T; Lunau, M; Oberth, G; Daskilewicz, K and Müller, A. 2017. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights in Southern Africa: A contemporary literature review 2012-2016. Johannesburg: HIVOS.

Messinger, A.M. 2017. LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Research. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. DOI:

Moskowitz, A., Stein, J. A., & Lightfoot, M. 2013. The mediating roles of stress and maladaptive behaviours on self-harm and suicide attempts among runaway and homeless youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(7), 1015-1027. DOI:

Sibi, T., 2012. I am used to it now’: Experiences of homophobia among queer youth in South African township schools. Gender and Education, 24(5): 515-533. DOI:

Mudavanhu, J. 2010. The attitude of the Methodist Church in Zimba-bwe to homosexuality: Towards a socio-sexological theolo-gical investigation. PhD Diss, University of Birmingham.

Müller, A., 2017. Beyond ‘Invisibility’: Queer Intelligibility and Symbolic Annihilation in Healthcare. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 9 (1), 1–14. DOI:

Muller, A. 2017. Scrambling for access: Availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in South Africa. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 17(16): 1-10. DOI:

Muller, A. 2014. Public Health Care for South African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Health Rights Violations and Accountability Mechanisms. Paper Presented at the International Conference, Putting Public in Public Services: Research, Action and Equality in the Global South- Cape Town.

Müller, A., Spencer, S., Meer, T., & Daskilewicz, K. 2018. The no-go zone: A qualitative study of access to sexual and reproductive health services for sexual and gender minority adolescents in Southern Africa. Reproductive Health, 15(1), 1-15. DOI:

Muluneh, M. D., Stulz, V., Francis, L., & Agho, K. 2020. Gender based violence against women in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 903. DOI:

Myrttinen, H. 2018. Languages of Castration - Male Genital Mutilation in Conflict and its Embedded Messages. United Kingdom: Routledge. DOI:

Nkosi, S., & Masson, F. 2017. Christianity and homosexuality: Contradictory or complementary? A qualitative study of the experiences of Christian homosexual university students. South African Journal of Higher Education, 31(4), 72-93. DOI:

Payne, M. 2014. Modern social work theory. Oxford University Press. DOI:

Pianto, G. 2016. How as queer theory influenced the ways we think about gender? Working paper of Public Health, 12/2016. London; Azienda Ospedaliera Nazionale. DOI:

Spira, T., Chad, N & Scheeweis, I. 2015. South Africa, LGBTI: Analysis of Political, Economic and Social Conditions. A Report produced by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. South Africa.

Quinn, B. 2019. Hate crimes double in five years in England and Wales. The Guardian, 15 October 2019.

Reid, S. E. 2018. The impossibility of Masculinity: Sexual violence and Black Lesbianism in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Master’s Diss, University of Stellenbosch.

Rakhetsi, A. 2021. 5 Countries in Africa That Have Legalized Same-Sex Relationships in the Past 10 Years. [ Accessed 29 April 2021].

Reygan, F. & Lynette, 2014. Heteronormativity, homophobia and culture arguments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Sexualities, 17(5):707-723. DOI:

Ruhsam, J. J. 2017. Introduction to Queer Theory. Syllabus: University of Massachusetts.

Rumens, N., De Souza, E. M., & Brewis, J. 2019. Queering queer theory in management and organization studies: Notes toward queering heterosexuality. Organization Studies, 40(4), 593-612. DOI:

Russo N. F & Pirlott, A. Gender-based violence: Concepts, methods, and findings. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov; 1087:178-205. DOI:

Shefer, T. 2019. Activist performance and performative activism towards intersectional gender and sexual justice in contemporary South Africa. International Sociology, 34(4), 418-434. DOI:

Smith, B. 2018. Generalizability in qualitative research: Misunderstandings, opportunities and recommendations for the sport and exercise sciences. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 10(1), 137-149. DOI:

Sinacore, A. L., Durrani, S., & Khayutin, S. 2021. Men’s Reflections on Their Experiences of Gender-Based Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(3-4), 1660-1681. DOI:

Soares, C. B., & Yonekura, T. 2011. Systematic review of theories: A tool to evaluate and analyze selected studies. Revista Da Escola De Enfermagem Da USP, 45(6), 1507–1514. DOI:

Stephens, A., & Boonzaier, F. 2020. Black lesbian women in South Africa: Citizenship and the coloniality of power. Feminism & Psychology, 30(3), 324-342. DOI:

South Africa. 1957. Mortality Act of 1957. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Southern Africa Litigation Centre. 2016. Laws and Policies Affecting Transgender Persons in Southern Africa.

Taruvinga, M & Mushayamunda, M. 2018. Homosexuality as a silent insider: A call for social work discourse among lesbians, and bisexuals (LGB) in Zimbabwe. Journal of African Studies, 7(2), 23-38.

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. 2013. Advancing the Human Rights of LGBT Persons Globally Fact Sheet Retrieved from

Thurston, W. E., Tam, D. M., Dawson, M., Jackson, M., & Kwok, S. M. 2016. The intersection of gender and other social institutions in constructing gender-based violence in Guangzhou China. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(4), 694-714. DOI:

Todd, S. & Coholic, D. 2015. Christian fundamentalism and anti-oppressive practice social work pedagogy: Rethinking the inclusion of fundamentalist beliefs within the queer-positive classroom.’ In O’Neill, B.J., Swan, T.A. & Mulé, N.J. (eds), LGBTQ People and Social Work: Intersectional Perspectives, Toronto, Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Tsapalas, D., Parker, M., Ferrer, L., & Bernales, M. 2021. Gender-based violence: Perspectives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Hispanic Health Care International, 19(1), 23-37. DOI:

Walters, M.L. and Lippy, C. 2016. Intimate partner violence in LGBT communities. In: Cuevas, C.A. and Rennison, C.M. (eds) The Wiley Handbook on the Psychology of Violence. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons, pp 695–714. DOI:

Well-Being, O. L. 2016. Hate Crimes against Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in South Africa, 2016. Hate-Crimes-Against-LGBT-People-in-South-Africa-21-November-2016-Web.pdf.

Wirtz, A. L., Poteat, T. C., Malik, M., & Glass, N. 2020. Gender-based violence against transgender people in the United States: A call for research and programming. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(2), 227-241. DOI:

Yarhouse, M. A. P. 2010. Homosexuality and the Christian: A guide for parents, pastors, and friends. Bloomington: Bethany House.




How to Cite

Leburu, G. E., Kgadima, N. P., & Malesa, K. J. (2022). The Inherent Limitations of Gender-Based Violence to the Exclusion of LGBTIQ: A Guide for Social Workers. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 11, 37–47.