The LGBT panic defense is a legal strategy that asks a jury to decide, based on a defendant’s testimony that it was their victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation that is not only to blame for their violent or heinous actions, but sometimes excuse their crime.
And it’s often successful.
It was famously used in the Matthew Shepard murder case, although it was rejected in that case.
A bill proposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would prohibit people accused of violent crimes from using homophobia and transphobia as a viable defense strategy in court. Director of development for the National LGBT Bar Association Seth Rosen has a look at the issues.