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Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 331–350 | Cite as

Carceral Pride: The Fusion of Police Imagery with LGBTI Rights

  • Emma K. RussellEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper reflects upon the adoption of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights discourse and imagery in police public relations and problematises the construction of police as protectors and defenders of gay liberties and homonormative life. Building from a foundational conceptualisation of policing as a racial capitalist project, it analyses the phenomenon of police rainbow branding practiced in nominally public spaces, such as Pride parades, and online through news media and social networking sites. Drawing on critiques of queer liberalism and complicities with state violence, the paper explores the contours of carceral homonationalism, arguing that ‘officially anti-homophobic’ police image work attempts to obscure the role of the carceral state in (re)producing sexual and gender oppression. However, this image work has also given rise to new forms of political action. Counter-movements against police and ‘carceral pride’ are actively reworking the distributions of space and visibility within LGBTI movements.

Keywords

Homonationalism Homonormativity Pinkwashing Policing Police image work Sexual citizenship 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to organisers of the Space Race Bodies II conference at the University of Otago for the opportunity to learn about PAPA’s activism in Aotearoa and to participants at the 16th Australian Homosexual Histories conference at La Trobe University for helpful questions about the ideas that eventually formed this paper. Thanks also go to Erica Meiners for suggesting a conceptual framework of carceral homonationalism and to the editors and anonymous reviewers at Feminist Legal Studies for their insightful suggestions and feedback.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social InquiryLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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