History of Panic Defense (USA)

From LGBTQIA+ Archives

There is a long history in the court system of individuals justifying their violent actions against queer and transgender communities by invoking what is known as the "gay panic defense" or "trans panic defense". The argument goes, more or less, that the violent action is justified upon learning about the identity of the individual or feeling uncomfortable from the interest.

1950s

Murder Case Dissent Files (1958)

  • The Evening Star remarks on Judge Wilbur K. Miller of the U.S. court of Appeals commenting on a case argument invoking gay panic defense, "the testimony... merely repeated earlier testimony by an FBI agent that Edmonds did not like the manner in which Lefebvre approached him with homosexual advances" (April 18, 1958).