Police discourses of homosexual men in New Zealand.


The present study examined the discourses of homosexuality in the police, using the discourse analytic method developed by Potter and Wetherell (1987). The study asked how police officers constructed gay men using their discourses and why gay men should or should not be employed by the police. Eight police officers were interviewed. Analysis revealed officers drew on three distinct discourses to construct gay men. The effeminate discourse associated homosexuals with effeminate behaviors. The deviant discourse associated homosexuals with behaviors that are morally and legally prescribed, and the discourse of conditional acceptance was used by officers to positively present, while voicing reservations about homosexuals. These discourses formed the linguistic resources officers used to construct types of homosexuals that were subsequently rejected as potential police officers. Several arguments were used to justify the conclusion that homosexuals were unsuited to the police. These related to the internal and external pressures impinging on the department with regard to the employment of homosexuals. The implications of the discourses are discussed with reference to gay men, the police, and the ideologies of heterosexism and gender.

Cite this paper

@article{Praat1996PoliceDO, title={Police discourses of homosexual men in New Zealand.}, author={A C Praat and Keith Tuffin}, journal={Journal of homosexuality}, year={1996}, volume={31 4}, pages={57-73} }