Scared Straight: Pushing the Panic Button

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LBGT people and people living with HIV.

Our Sponsors

June 23, 2010


"Although there's no standard definition of the 'gay panic' defense, it rests on the defendant's being so offended or shocked by sexual advances from a person of the same gender that the defendant assaults or kills the victim.

"...Jon Davidson, legal director at Lambda Legal, a national organization for gay, lesbian and transgender people, said the gay-panic defense could be used as part of an insanity defense or shown as a form of provocation.

"...'The test of it is, it has to be something that is a sudden and intense passion resulting from a serious provocation,' he said.

"...Many don't see gay panic as self-defense but rather as a victim-blaming defense.

"...'Sometimes in these cases people claim they made an advance on me or touched me,' [Davidson] said. 'If that were an adequate defense for murder, then there would sure be a lot of heterosexual men in this country who'd be murdered.'"

Read more in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Related Issues