Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Indiana State University
- There was only one portrayal of a gay or lesbian police officer in police films from 1971 to 2011.
- Other portrays of homosexual officers included two negative assumptions of a gay or lesbian officer and two portrayals of police interactions with a member of the LGBTQ community.
In the article, “The Absence of Gay and Lesbian Police Officer Depictions in the First Three Decades of the Core Cop Film Genre: Moving Towards A Cultivation Theory Perspective,” Wilson and his co-authors examine the lack of gay and lesbian police officers depicted in film. The researchers used film depictions of police officers to determine the quantity and quality of gay and lesbian officers representation in the police force. The study analyzed 88 police films between 1971 and 2011 using the cultivation theory, which states that individuals repeatedly exposed to messages through media will begin to adopt beliefs based on those messages. The results showed that there was only one portrayal of a gay or lesbian police officer, two negative assumptions of a gay or lesbian officer, and two portrayals of police interactions with a member of the LGBTQ community. The authors note that more research is needed to understand representativeness of and issues faced by homosexual police officers. The authors concluded that more research needs to be done to examine how influential the cultivation theory is on the perception, recruitment, and retention, of gay and lesbian officers.