Success: “Gay Panic” Defense Outlawed

Target: Ned Lamont, Governor of Connecticut

Goal: Praise the outlawing of transphopic and homophobic defense.

No more prejudiced people will be able to use the “gay or transgender panic” defense to excuse attacking and killing LGBTQ+ individuals in Connecticut. Attention was brought to this ongoing issue by petitions like this ForceChange one, which discussed the proposed legislation that was recently signed by the state’s governor. The law will ban criminal defendants from claiming that they assaulted or murdered someone due to panicking during an unsolicited, unforceful, or romantic encounter. The prohibition does not only apply to random people, but extends to individuals in a dating relationship as well.

The cold-blooded killing of Matthew Shepard prompted the introduction of the bill. The victim was assaulted and abused in Wyoming by two men who blamed Shepard for his own death. They claimed that his sexual advances led them to having “a fit of uncontrollable homicidal rage,” stated Nicholas Kapoor, a member of the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley, who was lead investigator in the case, says the student was “struck in the head and face between 19 and 21 times with the butt of a very large Smith and Wesson revolver”. He claims that, “The only time I’ve ever seen those dramatic of injuries were in high-speed traffic crashes, you know, where there was just extremely violent compression fractures to the skull.” Shepard was tied to a fence for 18 hours in the frigid cold before getting discovered by a teenager who mistook him for a fallen scarecrow.

According to Senator Martin Looney, gay and transgender panic defenses have been used in approximately 25 states. He had previously claimed that it is “stunning” that only Rhode Island, California, and Illinois have passed similar legislation. Sign below to praise efforts in combating transphobia and homophobia.


Dear Governor Lamont,

Thank you for signing Senate Bill 58 into law. Such legislation is of the utmost importance to the LGBTQ+ community in Connecticut. Outlawing the “gay panic” defense, in which an individual excuses a violent act as an emotional response to an unwanted advance from a person of the same sex, is a crucial step towards achieving a society free of prejudice.

Blaming gay and transgender people for violence against them is not reflective of the country’s stance on human rights issues, and is contrary to its constitutional values. By supporting this cause and not overlooking the brutality experienced by minorities, you showed us that you respect human lives and value equality.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: T. Chick McClure

One Comment

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    The “gay panic” defense is silly, hateful, feeble and the really the only weapon insecure, ignorant homophobes know how to use. It must be outlawed everywhere!

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