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Journal Article


Michalski ND, Bitter AN, Nunez N. J. Interpers. Violence 2022; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2022, SAGE Publishing)






The LGBTQ+ panic defense is a provocation defense strategy used to attain a lesser sentence for the defendant. It is often used by cisgender straight men to provide reasoning for a violent reaction to an unwanted sexual advance from an LGBTQ+ individual. Existing empirical work has examined juror perceptions of the LGBTQ+ panic defense used against gay victims, but lacks investigation of instances when the victim identifies as transgender. Utilizing a sample of 233 undergraduate students, we examine how mock jurors' individual characteristics (political orientation, masculine honor beliefs, and prejudices) influence victim perceptions (negative affect and blame) as well as verdict decisions in three different defense scenarios (transgender panic defense, transsexual panic defense, and neutral provocation defense). As predicted, participants exposed to trans panic defenses rendered more lenient verdicts compared to the control condition. Mediation analyses revealed that mock jurors with higher masculine honor beliefs and a more conservative political ideology expressed more negative affect toward the victim, leading to more lenient verdict decisions. Additionally, a path analysis revealed verdict to be double mediated by negative affect and victim blame. Legislation to ban the use of LGBTQ+ defenses has been accepted in some U.S. states and two countries, but it is still legal in a majority of U.S. states and worldwide. Therefore, it is important that research examines claims being made about the nature of the defense strategy.

Language: en


transgender; LGBTQ+ panic defense; masculine honor beliefs; political orientation; provocation defense; trans panic; transsexual


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