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“You’d just cop flak from every other dickhead under the sun”: navigating the tensions of (in)visibility and hypervisibility in LGBTI police liaison programs in three Australian states

Dwyer, A ORCID: 0000-0001-5152-7222 and Ball, MJ 2020 , '“You’d just cop flak from every other dickhead under the sun”: navigating the tensions of (in)visibility and hypervisibility in LGBTI police liaison programs in three Australian states' , Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, vol. 36, no. 2 , pp. 274-292 , doi: 10.1177/1043986219894420.

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Abstract

This article examines the different ways that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, andintersex (LGBTI) police liaison officers in three states of Australia conceptualizedand problematized the public visibility of LGBTI police liaison services. In a climatewhere LGBTI police liaison services are a prominent model for building relationshipsbetween police and LGBTI people, this article considers, through interview data withLGBTI police liaison officers, these officers’ perceptions of the role that the visibilityof these programs played in their success. Specifically, it explores the tensions anddifficulties for officers and LGBTI communities resulting from the general invisibilityof liaison officers themselves (and, by extension, these programs), as well as theproblems that increased visibility of these programs might bring to officers, to LGBTIcommunities, and to policing work itself. Although enhancing the visibility of liaisonservices may be an important goal, this research suggests that careful considerationis required regarding how this visibility is produced and maintained, particularly giventhe concerns that officers reported about the potential risks posed by adoptingnew forms of visibility, including the risk of hypervisibility. This article questions the conventional view that increased visibility is unproblematic and is the key to thesuccess of such programs.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Dwyer, A and Ball, MJ
Keywords: police, LGBTI, liaison programs, visibility, invisibility, hypervisibility, heteronormativity, homonormativity
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
ISSN: 1043-9862
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/1043986219894420
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