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Heterosexism and genderism within policing: a study of police culture in the US and the UK

Panter, Heather ORCID: 2015. Heterosexism and genderism within policing: a study of police culture in the US and the UK. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Although research on lesbian, gay and bisexual people has been recently increased within criminology that which specifically examines or includes transgender identities remains exceedingly rare. There is evidence that transgender individuals and LGB individuals both experience similar types of discrimination; however, there are important differences between those who identify as transgender (one’s gender identity) and those who identity as LGB (one’s sexuality). The present study provides qualitative data from 20 American officers and 19 English and Welsh constables on a particularly under-researched group within criminology: transgender police. Drawing upon theoretical perspectives from criminology, sociology and social psychology, this study examines if gender ideologies and hypermasculinity are monolithic across police cultures. By doing so, the reinforcement of gender binaries which impact gender ideologies and hypermasculinity were perceived as endemic, yet administratively addressable. The purpose of this research is to examine how transgender identities are perceived and how they are treated within policing. This research answers the following research questions: what are police perceptions towards transgender officers, and what are the consequences of these perceptions?; what are the occupational experiences and perceptions of officers who identify as transgender within policing?; and what are the reported positive and negative administrative issues that transgender individuals face within policing?. This research found that cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) police, particularly those who are heterosexual, collectively viewed LGB and transgender identities as violating conventional gender ideologies. Further, this research found that transgender police faced varied amounts of heterosexism and genderism based on how well they were able to conform to masculine or feminine ideals in addition to how their occupational transition was administratively managed. Yet some hopeful themes were found that are promising for the future acceptance of additional transgender identities within policing. For example, administrative improvements, such as supportive supervision and leadership alongside transition policies, can improve the occupational experiences of transgender officers and reduce the frequency of bias incidents, complaints and grievances. Further, it was discovered that officers who work alongside transgender colleagues are more understanding of transgender identities and certain social barriers that they face.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Additional Information: A print copy of the thesis is available for consultation and for inter-library loan. Please contact for more information.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 June 2016
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2023 16:22

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