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Extant research has documented police interactions between racial and ethnic minority populations, including negative perceptions of and experiences with the police; police corruption and misconduct; and the deleterious effects of negative relationships with the police, such as reduced legitimacy and mistrust. Comparatively, exchanges between lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) populations and the police have received limited attention. This is despite work suggesting that LGBTQ citizens face an elevated risk of victimization, and a possible reticence in reporting their victimization, resulting from negative perceptions of police, fear of mistreatment, or even experiences of harassment and abuse by police. To extend the research in this area, I analyze 12 focus groups with LGBTQ participants (N = 98) in an urban setting to examine the circumstances in which LGBTQ people would seek assistance from the police, when they would avoid doing so, and their justifications for avoiding or contacting the police. I also considered intersectionality in shaping police–citizen interactions between sexual and/or gender minority citizens of color, as the sample was almost exclusively LGBTQ persons of color. I conclude by discussing implications for policing practices and policies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.