NEW YORK STATE: STOP ALLOWING HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA TO JUSTIFY VIOLENCE AGAINST LGBTQ PEOPLE!
Sign our petition to ban the so-called gay/trans “panic” defense in court. In New York, if someone violently attacks or murders an LGBTQ person, state law allows them to blame their actions on the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity to reduce the sentence for their crime.
When our state allows these defenses to be used in court, it sends a disturbing message that violence against LGBTQ people is understandable and acceptable.
We need your help so that New York recognizes the humanity of LGBTQ people and ensures that homophobia and transphobia cannot be used in court to justify discriminatory violence.
SIGN THE PETITION
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The gay/trans “panic” defense allows a defendant to claim that finding out a person’s actual or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity caused an “extreme emotional disturbance” that led them to violently attack that person.
These defenses have allowed criminal charges for murdering an LGBTQ person to be reduced to a lesser offense.
In 2013, Islan Nettles was brutally beaten to death after her attacker, James Dixon, discovered that she was trans. Dixon justified his crime by explaining that his “pride was at stake,” and that he went into a “blind fury” when he learned that Nettles was a transgender woman. Dixon ultimately received a reduced sentence related to charges of manslaughter instead of murder charges for beating Nettles to death.
The gay/trans “panic” defense exploits stigmas against LGBTQ victims that are based on homophobia and transphobia. This must change.
Advocates have fought long and hard to make New York a more inclusive place for all. But laws that jeopardize the freedom and safety of LGBTQ people undermine New York’s core values of justice and equality. We cannot stand by while our state allows victims to be blamed for the violence committed against them.
That’s why we need your support for A2400/S2987, a bill that would explicitly ban the use of the gay/trans “panic” defense, and bring New York in line with states like California, Rhode Island and Illinois.
This petition was created by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center) and will be delivered to New York State legislators. For more information about The Center’s RiseOut advocacy initiative, and to learn how you can get involved, visit gaycenter.org/advocacy.