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The Gay Bomb

Look out! Take cover! Backs to the walls, boys! Its the Gay Bomb! No, not a bomb with fashionably styled fins or one that cant whistle, but rather a proposed non-lethal chemical bomb containing strong aphrodisiacs that would cause homosexual behavior among soldiers. Since the United States Air Force wanted $7.5 million of taxpayers money to develop it, it probably involved more than the traditional recipe of a few six-packs of beer. According to the Sunshine Group, an organization opposed to chemical weapons that recently obtained the original proposal under the Freedom of Information Act, a U.S.A.F. lab seriously proposed in 1994 that a bomb be developed containing a chemical that would cause [enemy] soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another. The U.S.A.F. obviously didnt know how picky even horny gays could be. Despite never having been developed, the so-called Gay Bomb is a bouncing bomb or perhaps a bent stickit keeps coming back. The media have picked up the story of the Gay Bomb more than once since 2005after all its a story thats too good to throw away, and, as this article proves, its a gift for dubious jokes. Mind you, it now seems to be the case that the Pentagon didnt throw it away either, at least not immediately. In the past the Pentagon has been keen to suggest it was just a cranky proposal they quickly rejected. The Sunshine Project now contradicts this, saying the Gay Bomb was given serious and sustained attention by the Pentagon and that in fact they submitted the proposal to the highest scientific review body in the country for them to consider. The Gay Bomb was no joke. So perhaps we should seriously consider probinghowever gingerlywhat exactly was in the minds of the boys at the Pentagon back then. The date is key. The Gay Bomb proposal was submitted in 1994the year after the extraordinary moral panic that very nearly derailed Clintons first term when he tried to honor his campaign pledge to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the U.S. military and that ultimately produced the current Dont Ask, Dont Tell (DADT) compromise that allows them to serve so long as they remain closeted and are not reported. The newly sworn-in commander-in-chief was successfully portrayed by the homo-baiting right wingand by the Pentagon itself in an act of insurrectionas a dirty pinko Gay Bomb that was seriously weakening the cohesion of the unit and molesting the noble, heterosexual U.S. fighting mans ability to perform his manly mission. Why not drop Clinton on the enemy? is probably what they were thinking. The Pentagons love affair with the Gay Bomb also hints heavily that ticking away at the heart of its opposition to lifting the ban on gays serving, which involved much emphasis on the close conditions (cue endless TV footage of naked soldiers and sailors showering together) was an anxiety that if homosexuality wasnt actively discouraged the U.S. Armed Forces would quickly turn into one huge, hot, military-themed gay orgythat American fighting men would be too busy offering themselves to one another to defend their country. I sympathize. I too share the same fantasybut at least I know its called gay porn. Whatever its motivations or rationalizations, the DADT policy of gay quarantine has resulted in thousands of discharges of homosexuals and bisexuals from the U.S. Armed Forces, even at a time when the military is having great difficulty mobilizing enough bodies of any sexual persuasion and is currently being publicly questioned. But the Pentagon seems unlikely to budge its institutional back from the proverbial wall. Its top commander, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, recently defended the policy in outspoken terms, saying: I believe that homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. (The good General probably didnt mean to suggest that homosexual acts involving only one person or more than two were not immoral.) Dont Ask, Dont Tell, a policy that even Joseph Heller would have had difficulty satirizing, may be confused and confusing, and it may or may not be repealed in the near future, but it clearly shows that the U.S. remains dramatically conflicted about itself and the enormous changes in attitudes and behavior that its own affluence and sophistication have helped bring about. After all, the Gay Bomb is here already and its been thoroughly testedon civilians. It was developed not by the U.S.A.F. but by the laboratories of American consumer and pop culture, advertising, and Hollywood. If you want to awaken the enemy to the attractiveness of the male body, try dropping back issues of Mens Health or GQ on them. Or Abercrombie & Fitch posters. Or Justin Timberlake videos. Or DVDs of 300. Or even the U.S.s newly acquired British-made weapons system for delivering global sexual confusion and hysteria known as David Beckham. To paraphrase the Duke of Wellington: I dont know whether they frighten the enemy, but by God they scare the Bejeesus out of me.
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Mark Simpson