Professor to lecture on queer criminology

Ita Tsai

The Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center at Grand Valley State University has organized a talk on queer criminology that will take place Tuesday, April 3, at 4 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Room 2266. 

“Queer Criminology: Examining the Experiences of the LGBTQ Population as Victims, Offenders and Professionals in the Criminal Legal System” will be presented by Carrie Buist, an assistant professor in GVSU’s School of Criminal Justice.

Buist co-authored the book “Queer Criminology” with Emily Lenning, and she has published articles in several journals. She has focused her studies on LGBTQ experiences within the criminal legal system, such as transgender issues in prison and transgender victims and offenders.

Buist’s research interests include the experiences of LGBTQ individuals in the criminal legal system, but she also follows issues such as women in policing, women in prison, media, crime and culture. Advocating as a feminist, she aims to highlight the experiences of marginalized populations.

“The research that we have done within the discipline on queer criminology focuses on turning our attention to the LGBTQ individual experiences as victims, offenders and professionals within the criminal legal system,” Buist said. “We are talking about those experiences on different levels.

“I’ll turn the discussion and focus on how gender or sexual identities have historically been criminalized throughout the world, not only in the U.S. Then, I’ll turn the discussion towards policing courts and corrections, looking at LGBT individuals as victims, offenders and professionals working.

Queer criminology is research that focuses on the lived experiences of LGBTQ individuals as victims, offenders and professionals within the criminal legal or criminal justice system.

“I wish that students take away basic knowledge of the queer folks in the system, the history of what LGBTQ people have experienced and continue to experience in the criminal legal system,” Buist said. “Last year was the deadliest year for LGBTQ individuals in the U.S., and hate crimes had increased in the community as a whole, so certainly these are important issues we have to deal with today. The better we can understand the experiences of this particular population, the more acceptance there will be.”

Buist’s research focuses not only on individuals tried and incarcerated, but also on the other side of the legal system.

“I’m a qualitative researcher, and I study primarily the experiences of women police officers,” she said. “I do a lot of interviews, and when I studied them in the field, a lot of my participants identified as lesbian. They claimed that they experienced more discrimination on the job, so this made me further my research on that specific topic, and I met scholars that were exploring other LGBTQ experiences. And we’ve continued looking at these issues, and that’s where my research focuses primarily on. 

“We need to look at the experiences of a marginalized population, bringing them together, intersecting identities, and bringing those experiences of marginalized populations and bringing them into the focus of our research instead of keeping them in the periphery.”

The event is both LIB 100- and 201-approved.