1st Edition

The Myth of the Queer Criminal

By Jeffery Dennis Copyright 2018
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Myth of the Queer Criminal documents over a century of writings by sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, and forensic scientists, in Europe and the United States, who asserted that LGBT persons were innately and uniquely criminal.

    Applying the tools of narratology and queer theory, Jeffery P. Dennis examines the ten types of queer criminal that have appeared in seminal texts, both literary and scientific, over the past 140 years - beginning with Lombroso's Criminal Man (1876) and extending to postmodern criminologists and contemporary textbooks. Each type is named after its defining characteristic. The pederast, for example, was believed to be a master-criminal, leading vast criminal empires. The degenerate, intellectually and morally corrupted, was perceived as a symptom or cause of societal decay. The silly, lisping pansy was a figure of ridicule, rather than of dread. The traitor was murderous and depraved, prepared to destroy democratic institutions worldwide. The book aims to contextualize this mythology, revealing the motivations of the agents behind it, the influence of broader preoccupations and anxieties of the age, and its societal, political and cultural impact.

    This carefully researched, meticulously written history of the queer criminal will be of interest to students and researchers in criminology, gender studies, queer studies, and the history of sexuality.

    Preface 1. Pederasts 2. Inverts 3. Degenerates 4. Psychopaths 5. Pansies 6. Traitors 7. Delinquents 8. Deviants 9. Militants 10. Derelicts Index


    Jeffery P. Dennis is an Assistant Professor of Corrections at Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA. His research interests include LGBT issues in criminology and corrections and juvenile delinquency among LGBT youth. His books include Queering Teen Culture (2006) and We Boys Together: Teenagers in Love Before Girl-Craziness (2007).

    "This book is a major achievement. Drawing from an incredible array of sources, including academic research, literature, and popular culture, Jeffrey P. Dennis paints a vivid portrait of the queer criminal, detailing the many guises in which queer criminality has appeared for over a century, up to the present day. Ambitious in scope, The Myth of the Queer Criminal provides a significant contribution to the queer criminological literature and to LGBT studies, and is necessary reading for those interested in the social and legal regulation of queer people."

    Matthew Ball, Senior Lecturer, School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia