Gay Bombs / Sketches / Part 2

2 Understanding Queer Technological Strategy

The conception of the Gay Bomb began in 1994, the same year the Wright Laboratory in Ohio produced a proposal for the United States Air Force on constructing a gay bomb.

The Gay Bomb is a hacked concept, intercepting flows and signals of terrorist paranoia, networked fear, distributed warfare, and homophobic weaponry. Gay Bombs can be considered a reverse discourse, a reinscription—literally, a queer terrorist networked assemblage, plotting the redeployment of new technologically queer meanings, vulnerabilities, and sensibilities. Gay Bombs take on the climate of their cultural production in order to more effectively subvert the US Air Force's original goal of developing a gay bomb.

Gay Bombs emerge from a sabotaged topological strategy and build new architectures from this detritus. Gay Bombs are executions of queer political strategy.

          A History (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Conception goes back further. Even if the hormonal gay bomb was never built, another has always existed in culture.

Start at 1964. Dr. Strangelove and nuclear mass destruction. The title alone says everything: Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. OR the One Who Loves Strangely Must Internalize the Bomb to Survive. Before the gay bomb, the homosexual had already successfully become an explosive device—for better or worse.

Back. 1961. Basil Dearden’s film Victim is the first motion picture to openly deal with homosexuality in the UK, where Dirk Bogarde drives a young homosexual man to suicide. Another capitulation.

1978. Derek Jarman’s 2nd major film Jubilee opens at the height of the punk scene in Britain. During an intimate moment of heterosexual intercourse between a young woman and a police officer, Bod—the leader of Jubilee’s queer punk group—bombs their house, shouting “No Future!” This moment of Jubilee resonates with Lee Edelman’s No Future. Edelman writes of the sinthomosexual, a conflux of queer existence predicated on the death drive: violent pleasure moving toward death and nothing else.[1] Jubilee is a Gay Bomb. Queers have never been granted a future, so we embrace our No Future with the explosion of a bomb—a bomb that is not our body exploding but the world around us.

1981. On December 1st, HIV is recognized for the first time. Homosexuality groups itself together as one networked ticking time bomb. Victims unite in the countdown to a definitive No Future. The question

1986. The Smiths release “Ask.” In whimsical wisps of Brit Pop finesse, Morrissey croons, “If it’s not love then it’s the bomb that will bring us together.” Here, the bomb becomes the material that builds queer communities. Amalgamations of “No Future!” detonations form and bind queer life. For The Smiths, love will never work; there is only the time until the bomb explodes and the pleasure this produces. In the “Ask” music video, a motley group of teenagers joyfully throws a bomb about. Love may be dismissed, but the threat of destruction (inside bodies and out) offers intimacy. The Gay Bomb is queer love.

1999. A nail bomb explodes in front of the Admiral Duncan, a gay bar in London, resulting in injury and death. The gay bomb refuses the homosexual a stabilized place / space in the world. The logic of the gay bomb erases homosexual permanence. Bodies evaporate and blood explodes. If homosexuality is long-lasting, then it must be blown up. A well-known bar first, and then if it re-opens, go for the manager. David Morley, the manager of the Admiral Duncan in 1999, is murdered by a group of teenagers in 2004.[2]

          Bomb as Biopolitical

While the Admiral Duncan marks an interlude to the point of birth of the Gay Bomb, the de-faced USS Enterprise GBU-31 JDAM that hit Afghanistan in October 2001 inaugurates its existence within the world. Before deployment, a US Navy Sailor tagged the bomb with “High Jack This Fags.”[3] Again, the military understands positioning the dreaded and feared non-Western terrorist as “fag” as victory guaranteed. Fags like to be penetrated, so here’s the ultimate in penetrating pleasure.

The determination of the bomb equated with militaristic homophobia results in a multiplicitous mass destruction: the murdered Afghans and the desired-to-be-murdered fags. When the gay bomb becomes an unquestioned struggle over life and death, it becomes a weapon of biopower—an explosion of sovereignty.[4]

The moment a bomb is inscribed with intentions of the mass destruction of “fags,” a counter-bomb produces itself within the queer imaginary. This counter-bomb—the Gay Bomb—is biopolitical in that it uses bodies and life as weapons. Gay Bombs, consisting of queer multitudes, are living. The defacement of the Gay Bomb reads, “Hi Jack This Queers.” Gay Bombs intercept power—at the risk of life and death—to re-wire control structures for queer use.

          Hardware Setup and Configuration

While Gay Bombs will always consist of bodies and life, they also expand into a materialism of everything. That is, the Gay Bomb materializes through queer bodies but can take any form necessary. The production of its hardware and configuration can only be specified in general: Gay Bombs take shape only in their deployment. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has articulated that queerness must always be in relation / tension with the normal. Queerness in a vacuum or queerness as impermeable form does not exist. Therefore, Gay Bombs materialize only in relation to something (their target). This is how Gay Bombs become queer bombs. If configuration is always based on target, wiring becomes the topology—the political map, the logic of the bomb’s integrated circuit. Wiring in relation to target simultaneously builds and deploys Gay Bombs. The political act is executed by the logic of its map, and theSoftQueerBody crystallizes in hardware at a specific point in time and space.[5]


Friedrich Kittler has stated that fiber optic networks are immunized against the bomb. Thus, “optical fibers can transmit any imaginable message but the one that counts—the one about the bomb.”[6] The Gay Bomb’s materialism of everything is bound by nothing other than materiality itself. Gay Bombs move easily through boundaries, and like AIDS, there is no immunization against infection. They flow elated and unrecognized through the very fiber optic networks they plan to attack. These networks willingly transmit its message and bring about their own collapse. Gay Bombs are like the female Algerian resistance fighters in The Battle of Algiers: the material instantiations of their bodies conceal the bombs they posses—indeed, their bodies become part of the bomb itself; this mutated materiality of the bomb allows for the free flow of it through traffic of the highest surveillance. Installation of a Gay Bomb is always a welcomed trespass.


Gay Bombs do not create new channels of transmission; they use those already in existence. Galloway and Thacker write that “counterprotocol practices can capitalize on the homogeneity found in networks to resonate far and wide with little effort.” If Gay Bombs are a form of counterprotocol—that is, interventions within standards of technological control, their successful deployment resides in the fullest exploit possible of the networks they travel through for detonation. In networks of capital, the common logic of production and consumption offers deployment strategies. Gay Bombs as commercial consumables exploit the standardization of product to explode the whole world market. In militaristic networks, strategies of conquest, destruction, and defense produce anticipated paranoid fear and expected death through the violence of the weapon. Here, Gay Bombs deploy as warheads to intercept state-sponsored terror so that queers may actually become the terrorist. Gay Bombs as weapons of mass destruction: this bomb makes queers fuck jubilantly, re-wiring the military’s No (Queer) Future promise to the “No Future!” of queer jouissance. Deployments of Gay Bombs are living erratic viruses.

As deployment constructs life, the circulation of Gay Bombs mutates and multiplies as it spreads throughout networks of the world. Gay Bombs are always already alive in every network—always already deployed, always already dormant. When deployment is activated, a crystallization forms as the materialization of Gay Bomb’s discourse: an object—a bomb—with a long detonation wire that, when lit, burns from interiority to interiority. Deployment exposes the living Gay Bombs thriving in all network formations. Deployment is permutated ontology.


When a gay bomb explodes, heterosexuals have homosexual sex to surrender to power. In “Is the Rectum a Grave?” Leo Bersani defines the sexual as that which “emerges as the jouissance of exploded limits” that is, as soon as persons are posited within a certain sexual orientation, a “war begins” formulated upon the ways in which bodies exercise power in their sexual roles.[7] Bersani suggests that “self-shattering”[8] is a necessary constituent to enter into sexual relations with another. Self-shattering—losing sight of self, evacuating value of selfhood—explodes into “practice[s] of nonviolence.”[9] Queer sexuality is a politics of self-shattering. The gay bomb initializes a superficial shattering of self, which produces the appearance of nonviolence but actually executes violence with hyperbolic acumen.

The explosion of the Gay Bomb is a self-shattering orgasm. Its explosion confuses power relations, positionality, and orientation, leaving queer users enmeshed with target and at the same time in a sublime state of “solipsistic jouissance.”[10] The Gay Bomb empties the target’s self and loads it with queer desire. At the time of explosion, target and queer perform a practice of self-shattering nonviolence. As the Gay Bomb shatters, shrapnel, detritus, body parts, the very discourse of Queer Technologies explodes into the world. While each Gay Bomb recodes its target, the target also recodes the Gay Bomb (and hence, the queer detonator).

The explosion of the Gay Bomb should be thought of as sublime jouissance. It becomes the point where identities collapse in pleasure and pain to re-calibrate the understanding and functioning of the self. Explosion makes meaning painfully / pleasurably apparent: the holes of bodies, the holes of targets hit, the holes of technological accuracy, the holes of political certainty all become visible / visualized—a visuality burned into the world by the force of a queer multitude that has abandoned self for sublime sexual self-shattering. The explosion’s impact on the physical world is a radical reconfiguration of a target’s selfhood. A target hit is denied ontologies and epistemological structuring—material form. It is only given a construction of existing and organizing from the self-shattering shards of Gay Bomb fucking (exploding).


A target’s form—post explosion—is a subtraction, an absence. If the Gay Bomb only materializes at the point of deployment and explosion, afterward, the nothingness of the bomb leaves a marked but emptied thing. The self of the target regenerates itself in this absence. Holes and tears recompose. The Gay Bomb’s stain of absence upon the target, consisting of microscopic particles of queer living flesh, regenerates an inversion. The form of the target-hit eats itself inside out—the complete implosion of the original target simultaneously creates the mutated target—a new Gay Bomb. The implosion of gay bomb, the explosion of Gay Bomb.

[1] Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive.Durham: Duke University Press,

[2] Admiral Duncan Pub. Wikipedia. (accessed on February 13, 2008).

[3] Fag Bomb. Wikipedia. (accessed on February 13, 2008).

[4] Foucault has defined biopower in The History of Sexuality, Volume 1 as “an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations." As a technology of power, biopower exercises control over life and death.

[5] theSoftQueerBody is the swarm assemblage of networked queer technologists. See Part 4.

[6] Kittler, Friedrich. 1997. “Gramophone, Film, Typewriter.” Literature Media Information Systems. Amsterdam: G & B Arts International, 31.

[7] Bersani, Leo. 1994. “Is the Rectum a Grave?” Reclaiming Sodom. New York: Routledge, 217 – 218.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., 222.

[10] Ibid.