How to Get Away with Murder: Gay panic defense

There are many strange, weird, and quirky things in this world we occupy. There are Republican LGBTQ+ people, frogs that can freeze then reanimate, Apple’s $1000 screen stand, and there’s gay panic defense. What the fuck is that? Gay panic defense is when a defendant murders someone, and legally defends themself by claiming that they were temporarily insane or violent because of same-sex “advances”. (Similarly, there’s the trans panic defense, in which the defendant claims to be surprised that their victim was trans, because that is such a good defense).

Unfortunately, people have gotten away with that. W. Carsten Andresen (via The Conversation), who worked with rather limited data (the FBI usually doesn’t collect data relating to sexual orientation or identity in homicide cases; nor are gay panic defenses officially recorded), revealed that 32% of defendants in gay panic defense cases got their murder charges reduced. A rather high profile gay panic defense in Texas, resulted in the murderer getting a measly 6 months of jail and 10 years of probation. Why am I have twinky defense flashbacks?

Lo and behold, the U.S. Justice System is unfair and has been for centuries, especially towards people of color, women, the unwealthy, the LGBTQ+ community, and so on. The Justice System still has yet to be overwhelmingly fair, as so many injustices still go either unnoticed or mock its victims. Hopefully, we’ll see significant strides during Biden’s administration, and onwards. Thankfully, 12 states (and Washington DC) have banned gay panic defense, with Virginia being the most recent, and several other states considering it.

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