This article extends beyond analysis of homophobic police practices at the Tasty raid that took place in Melbourne in 1994 to explore the ways in which queer politics interact with constructions of ‘respectability’ in the contexts of criminalisation, policing and state protection. I argue that the successful construction of legitimate victimhood by lesbian and gay Tasty patrons (achieved largely through signifiers of middle-class respectability and the paradigm of sameness) impeded police efforts to control media narratives and secure legitimacy in the aftermath of the Tasty raid. The formal apology issued by Victoria Police in 2014 indicates that the Tasty raid was considered a significant enough stain on police reputation to warrant addressing two decades after the event itself. I consider the apology as an attempt to cleanse and redeem the institution of the negative image of police resulting from the Tasty raid. This case offers unique insights into some of the ways in which lesbians and gay men may achieve legitimacy as victims in a heteronormative context and how this might come at the cost of a structural analysis of sexuality, power and violence. It also highlights how state institutions navigate and avoid accountability to a specific and historically targeted group.
Field of Research
1801 Law 1602 Criminology 160205 Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
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