The gay or trans panic defence, also known as the Portsmouth Defence, is where someone claims that they were temporarily not responsible for their actions due to extreme shock. The shock results from discovering that someone is gay or transgender, or some action related to those factors such as a straight person being invited to participate in a homosexual relationship.

I know of at least once incidence in the US where a transgender woman was murdered after her sexual partners discovered she was not a cis woman. Has the gay/trans panic defence ever been successfully used to avoid conviction or to significantly lessen punishment?

I'm interested in all jurisdictions, not just the US. I believe that the name "Portsmouth Defence" comes from the city of Portsmouth in the UK, for example.

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    From Wikipedia: "The defendant alleges to find the same-sex sexual advances so offensive and frightening that it brings on a psychotic state characterized by unusual violence." Sounds like some 1800s, Puritan, but-wide-stanced-at-the-airport-bathroom type of homophobic drivel, not a legal defense. But alas, it apparently exists.
    – A.fm.
    Feb 13, 2018 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


It has apparently been used to get first degree murder down to second degree murder in the "famous" "Jenny Jones" case from 1954. Other cases seem as if it was used as a defense, but the defendant ended up pleading guilty to a lesser crime.

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