Statement from The Center’s Executive Director Glennda Testone on New York State’s Passage of a Ban on the Gay/Trans “Panic” Defense
The Center wholeheartedly applauds New York State lawmakers for passing a ban on the gay/trans ‘panic’ defense (A8375/S6573), ensuring that LGBTQ New Yorkers who are victims of hate crimes will no longer be blamed for the violence committed against them. This legislation makes it clear that homophobia and transphobia cannot be used in our courts to justify discriminatory violence.
The gay/trans ‘panic’ defense has been a legal strategy used in criminal cases where a defendant claims 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. It plays into harmful stereotypes, insinuating that it’s reasonable or justifiable to attack or murder an LGBTQ person simply because of who they are. With today’s ban, New York will join just six other states in passing legislation to end this practice. The significance of this victory in New York will help advocates build momentum across the country until this abhorrent practice ends everywhere, once and for all.
We also applaud the passage of legislation (S5922/A00109) that will now require all state-owned or operated buildings to have gender-neutral, single occupancy bathrooms, and help ensure that LGBTQ New Yorkers along the gender spectrum are affirmed for who they are.
The Center was proud to fight for the passage of the ban on the gay/trans ‘panic’ defense and gender-neutral single occupancy bathrooms through our advocacy initiative, RiseOut, as part of a broad, unified effort to pass LGBTQ-affirming legislation with LGBTQ community leaders from every region of the state. Together, we have developed and pushed for a platform of high-priority laws New York must pass to improve its LGBTQ residents’ quality of life, including the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and a ban on conversion therapy for minors, which passed earlier this year.
Today, New York took another big step toward securing full equity and equality for LGBTQ people and we applaud our legislature for taking much-needed action. We are eager to continue working together to achieve a safe, affirming future for all.