Gay/Trans Panic Defense Stands in GB

While N. American GLBTQI rights activists are congratulating each other on the successful defeat of the Gay/Trans Panic Defense in the Angie Zapata case, the same cannot be said for activists in Britain.

According to Pink News, Scott Mackenzie was sentenced to just 6 years after trying to kill a trans woman in his apartment.

Mackenzie and his girlfriend, Louisa Chisholm, picked up their victim, identified only as William Wood, in a bar on October 30, 2008. According to Mackenzie, Chisholm went to take a nap and he and Woods continued to talk. He says he asked questions about Woods gender and sexuality. He then says that Woods made sexual advances on him and he and Woods engaged in a “play fight” about it when Chisholm woke up and entered the room.

Chisholm accused Mackenzie of being gay.  Mackenzie then claims that he “snapped,” and went to the kitchen to get two knives. He then repeatedly stabbed Woods for “making his gf think he was gay!” According to the police report, Mackenzie was holding the knife to Woods’ throat when they entered. Woods was covered in his own blood, forcibly kneeling, but thankfully still alive.

Woods was wearing nothing but a pair of underwear.  According to all reports he had been in his underwear when Chisholm entered the room.

Despite the overwhelming evidence and the pure illogic of believing that a homophobic and transphobic man would allow a trans woman to undress in front of him and then “playfully wrestle” with him in his undies, the judge accepted the gay panic defense. He said he believed that Woods’ advances were unwanted and that Mackenzie had panicked and acted in an unclear state. This meant that the judge could give him a light sentence.

It was clear the trial would be biased against transgender identity when the judge allowed everyone in the courtroom to refer to Woods as “he” and “Mr” and repeated Mackenzie’s definition of Woods as a “bisexual transvestite” instead of a pre-op trans woman.

There is no indication that Chisholm, who had witnessed the entire act, will be charged with anything.

Whether they intentionally set Woods up, ie going to the bar with the intention of hurting a transgendered person, or Mackenzie thought his girlfriend would sleep through an encounter between them is irrelevant. The evidence seems to clearly point toward both Mackenzie and Chisholm being aware of desires outside of their relationship and acting violently to suppress them. Both of them seem guilty of many things here, none the least of which is attempted murder of a woman who was only following their lead from the bar to the bedroom.


4 thoughts on “Gay/Trans Panic Defense Stands in GB

  1. I don’t think either case means the fight for equality is done. We still have so much more to do.

    thanks for posting on transgender issues, most feminists on the web don’t include us.

    • Welcome to the blog Amber.

      you’re welcome. everyone counts in feminism, its important we don’t forget that.

      Miles still to go . . . all tho, I don’t know that multiple court cases with guilty verdicts and maximum fines would get equality either. One thing we’ve learned is even putting equality for GLBTQI people in the constitution doesn’t actually guarantee equity. Depending on law enforcement doesn’t change hearts and minds either. (Sorry to be wordy, I’m just doing a lot of thinking about classic liberalism vs. racidalism)

  2. this is ridiculous! Thank you for all the updates, info, analysis, brilliance, etc. on this blog. not a lot of feminists blog about transgender issues and when they do, they don’t get it right. I’m grateful for everything you right here. you make me believe that we are all in it together. (sorry for gushing)

    • welcome to the blog Feran. that’s so sweet. I really do mean it when I say decolonized feminism is for all of us. 😀

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