What is Gay Bashing
Gay bashing is a term that is often used to describe an act of physical violence that is perpetrated against someone based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Can You Avoid Being the Victim of Gay Bashing?
You can't always avoid being the victim of a crime like gay bashing, and no one should ever blame themselves if they are victimized, but there are some things GLBT teens need to know about staying safe. Here are some tips from the Guide to Gay Life:
- Know Your Surroundings. Avoid surprises by knowing what and who's around you at all times.
- Never Travel Alone. Try to travel or commute with a buddy, friend or person you trust.
- Know Where You Are. Make a mental note of your location, street names, intersections and landmarks.
- Say No to Strangers. Never accept rides from strangers and always trust your instincts.
- Plan An Escape Route. This may seem like an activity reserved for spies like 007 or bank robbers, but it's always a good idea for everyone to plan an exit.
- Keep Your Cell Phone Ready. You may be able access your cell phone quickly, but how fast can you dial emergency numbers? Many cell phones come with speed dial features or programmable codes for quick access to numbers.
- Leave a Trail. Find a trusted friend or family member whom you can keep updated on your whereabouts.
How Seriously Are Violent Crimes Against GLBT Individuals Treated?
Violent crimes against the GLBT community are treated differently depending on where you live. If you live in a state with hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, then a crime might be treated more seriously than if you don't.
Sometimes people use what is know as the "gay panic defense" when facing murder or assault charges that claims that the defendant was hit on by a gay transgender person and so they were "forced" to defend themselves with extreme violence.
However, more and more law enforcement agencies and judges are taking gay bashing seriously, regardless of the defendants excuses or whether their states protect sexual orientation under hate crimes laws.