The Past Is the Past? The Impossibility of Erasure of Historical LGBTIQ Policing

  • Angela Dwyer
  • Stephen Tomsen


This quote came from an interview with a now retired, gay male police officer conducted in a research project in 2010. He elaborates how he thinks LGBTIQ people still hold onto old understandings of police interactions. Furthermore, he notes how he thinks about discussions about these historical moments as ‘stereotypes and prejudices’, as though events in the past now shape what people think about police in the present. Interestingly, how he thinks about this contradicts with the way research and commentary tend to document this policing history. There is little doubt that relationships between LGBTIQ people and police have been historically turbulent (Radford, Betts, & Ostermeyer 2006). Discussions about LGBTIQ policing history can tend to chart this as though conflicts are matters in the past, and that we have moved to a more enlightened present as a result of historical events. While the documented accounts of this history rarely follow a fully linear chronology (Dwyer 2014), they can also romanticise a present and assumed future that is or will be ever grounded in sensitive, community-based police relationships.


Sexual Minority Police Force Police Organisation Sexual Prejudice Police Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Angela Dwyer and Stephen Tomsen 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Dwyer
  • Stephen Tomsen

There are no affiliations available

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