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“Queering Criminology”: Overview of the State of the Field

  • Jordan Blair Woods

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity issues and LGBTQ populations in the field of criminology. The chapter advances three main points. First, it argues that there is very little data on LGBTQ people’s experiences of crime, both in terms of victimization and offending. Second, the overwhelming majority of criminological engagement with sexual orientation and gender identity occurred prior to the 1980s, and discussed these concepts insofar as assessing whether “homosexuality”—a term that was often employed to describe non-heterosexual sexualities and gender non-conforming identities/expressions—was or was not a form of criminal sexual deviance. Third, to date, there is little to no theoretical engagement with sexual orientation and gender identity in each of the four major schools of criminological thought: biological, psychological, sociological, and critical. I argue that these three points are a reflection of the historical and continuing stigma of the sexual deviance framework on the treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity concepts, and LGBTQ people in the field. This chapter makes a call to “queer criminology,” which in my view, requires overcoming the sexual deviance framework and reorienting criminological inquiry to give due consideration to sexual orientation and gender identity as non-deviant differences that may shape people’s experiences of crime and experiences in the criminal justice system more generally.

Keywords

Crime data Criminological theory Gender identity Intersectionality Offending Queer Race Sexual deviance Sexual orientation Sodomy laws Victimization 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Loraine Gelsthorpe and Caroline Lanskey—and most especially to Michael Rice—at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge for their support and comments in helping me to develop these ideas. I am also appreciative of the useful suggestions of Dana Peterson and Vanessa R. Panfil.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Williams InstituteUCLA School of LawLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Los AngelesUSA

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