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‘Gay, Trans Panic’ Still Considered Legitimate Defense for Violent Acts

Although the American Bar Association has called for a ban on the use of the gay and trans panic defense, a legal strategy that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction, including murder, it is still legal in a majority of states, reports King5. According to the nonprofit Movement Advancement Project (MAP), 57 percent of the American LGBTQ+ population lives in states where the defense isn’t banned and it isn’t banned at the federal level. Just 15 states and Washington, D.C. have explicitly prohibited the use of the defense since the ABA issued a unanimous ruling in 2013 calling on governments to prohibit its use.

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