Gay bombs: exploding, remapping topologies of queerness

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  • Gay bombs: exploding, remapping topologies of queerness

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  • Abstract

    On January 15, 2005, BBC News’ website featured an article entitled ‘US military pondered love not war.’ This news brief publicly announced US Air Force research on the now supposedly defunct development of a ‘gay bomb.’ Proposed in 1994 at the Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, the gay bomb is defined as an aphrodisiac chemical that ‘would make enemy soldiers “sexually irresistible” to each other.’ Indeed, the gay bomb, which was designed to be a six-year development project costing $7.5 million, ‘would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a “distasteful but completely non-lethal” blow to morale.’ That the gay bomb would explode into immorality, detonating a public shaming upon its victims, pre-supposes rampant homophobia, for the act of homosexual sex in and of itself does not promise defeat or surrender. Yet, given the US military’s conflation of gay (here, defined as homosexual sex) with weapon, it seems that the military pondered war not love. Indeed, the image chosen to accompany this text of a military aircraft dropping a multitude of missiles assures us that this bomb is a loveless act of sovereign dominance and destruction.