Differentiation from gay bashing
Unlike gay bashing, trans bashing is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation. However, a trans person may be gay bashed if the person perceives them as gay rather than transgender.
At least since the Stonewall riots in 1969, people from the greater trans communities have often been politically aligned with the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities. However, researchers and some activists from the greater trans communities argue trans bashing should be categorized separately from violence committed on the basis of sexual orientation ("gay-bashing"). Anti-trans bias crimes have been conceptually and characteristically distinguished from homophobic crimes in the scholarly research. One argument is that conflating violence against trans peoples with violence against gay people erases the identities of people in the greater trans communities and the truth of what happens to them. However, campaigns against gay bashing and trans bashing are often seen as a common cause.
In one case, perpetrators accused of hate crimes against trans people have tried to use a trans panic defense, an extension of gay panic defense. The jury deadlocked, but there is evidence they rejected the trans-panic defense. One law journal provided an analysis of the trans-panic defense, arguing in part that the emotional premise of a trans panic defense (shock at discovering unexpected genitals) is different from the emotional premise of a gay panic defense (shock at being propositioned by a member of the same sex, perhaps because of one's repressed homosexuality).