TLDEF Urges New York State Lawmakers to Ban Trans and Gay Panic Defenses


TLDEF Urges New York State Lawmakers to Ban Trans and Gay Panic Defenses

March 23, 2018- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund today denounced New York State state legislators for rejecting provisions in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget that would have prohibited criminal defendants from raising so called “trans panic” or “gay panic” defenses. These defenses allow violent defendants to place the blame for their violence on the gender identity or sexual orientation of their victims.

     Statement from TLDEF Interim Executive Director Dolph Goldenburg

“We are extremely troubled that both the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-led Assembly in New York have rejected Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to ban “trans panic” and “gay panic” defenses from being used in New York’s criminal justice system. When courts sanction such defenses, they let violent defendants place the blame for their violence on the gender identity or sexual orientation of their victims, essentially allowing them to manipulate jurors’ biases against members of the LGBTQ community.

“In 2013, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution calling for ban on the use of trans and gay panic defenses. California passed legislation banning the defenses in 2014 and in December 2017 the Illinois legislature unanimously passed a similar ban.

“As budget negotiations continue, we urge Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Albany to restore this vital provision banning these heinous defenses that allow violent criminals to blame their crimes on their victims’ gender identity or sexual orientation. If LGBTQ people are truly equal members of society, our status should not be a basis for justifying wanton, hate-filled violence against us.”