Coco Jem Holiday and Donatella Mysecrets take you on another path down the road to a crime where the Gay Panic defense was used. Taken from the LGBTBAR.ORG:
Traditionally, the LGBTQ+ “panic” defense has been used in three ways to mitigate a case of murder to manslaughter or justified homicide.
- Defense of insanity or diminished capacity: The defendant alleges that a sexual proposition by the victim – due to their sexual orientation or gender identity – triggered a nervous breakdown in the defendant, causing an LGBTQ+ “panic.” This defense is based on an outdated psychological term, “gay panic disorder”, which was debunked by the American Psychiatric Association and removed from the DSM in 1973. Sadly, while the medical field has evolved with our increasingly just society, the legal field has yet to catch up.
- Defense of provocation: The defense of provocation allows a defendant to argue that the victim’s proposition, sometimes termed a “non-violent sexual advance,” was sufficiently “provocative” to induce the defendant to kill the victim. Defendants claiming a “provocative” advance stigmatize behavior which, on its own, is not illegal or harmful, but is only considered “provocative” when it comes from an LGBTQ+ individual.
- Defense of self-defense: Defendants claim they believed that the victim, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, was about to cause the defendant serious bodily harm. This defense is offensive and harmful because it argues that a person’s gender or sexual identity makes them more of a threat to safety. In addition, LGBTQ+ “panic” is often employed to justify violence when the victim’s behavior falls short of the serious bodily harm standard, or the defendant used a greater amount of force than reasonably necessary to avoid danger, such as using weapons when their attacker was unarmed.