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The state of Virginia became the 12th state to ban the gay and trans panic defense this past Wednesday, the Transgender Day of Visibility.
“There are unfortunately too many places throughout America… where a judge could hear that sort of transphobic or homophobic argument and think, ‘Yeah, I would have a similar reaction,’” said out Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (D). “That is extremely real.”
The gay and trans panic defenses are often used by defendants who are accused of violent crimes. They claim that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity made them panic.
For example, a straight man could claim that he went into a state of temporary insanity when he found out a woman he had sex with was trans and then attacked her.
The American Bar Association adopted a resolution calling for an end to the defense in 2013.
The gay panic defense has been used in several prominent cases. It gained national attention in a 1995 case where a gay man, Scott Amedure, told his straight friend Jonathan Schmitz that he was attracted to him on the Jenny Jones Show .Three days later, Schmitz shot Amedure and turned himself into police, and he argued in court that he was “embarrassed” […]