"Gay Bomb": What Would James Holsinger Say?

Our tax dollars and our brilliant military minds at work. This is precious.

From The Washington Post

“Sunshine Project Uncovers US Military ‘Gay Bomb’: Pentagon Examined Sexual Warfare Proposal From Air Force’s Wright Laboratory”

By Emil Steiner

In my job I come across a lot of strange stories, but this is one is almost too wild to believe. In December 2004, The Sunshine Project, a watchdog group based in Austin, Tex., and Hamburg, Germany, that opposes biological weapons, uncovered a “U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.” The story got some press in early 2005, but quickly vanished into that great internet junkyard of forgotten URLs, the only memory being a lonely wikipedia entry.

There it lay, all but dead until one week ago when The Huffington Post resuscitated the tale with a tongue-in-cheek entry asking: “[i]sn’t it always the best ideas which fall by the wayside?” A CBS news affiliate in California adopted it last Friday and since then this offbeat classic has experienced a viral rebirth across the blogosphere. Here are the broad-strokes:

The proposal came from the Air Force’s Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, which requested $7.5 million to develop a so-called “gay-bomb.” Using the Freedom of Information Act, Edward Hammond, director of the U.S. office of the Sunshine Project, obtained a copy which was “part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons.” If completed, the bomb would release a chemical aphrodisiac “and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical… soldiers would become gay.” This would cause their units to break down as the troops “became irresistibly attractive to one another.” In addition to a “gay bomb” the proposal also mentions using chemicals which could make bees angry so that enemy forces would be attacked not only by our troops but also swarms of stinging insects.

Defense Department officials have acknowledged that such ideas were proposed by the Air Force in 1994, and then “quickly dismissed.” They played down the significance of the Sunshine report, stating that many proposals come their way that are rejected for ethical reasons. But Hammond disputes their dismissal as “absolutely incorrect.” He contends, that “if [the ideas] had been summarily rejected I would never have found them.” He went on to state that the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Directorate, based out of Quantico, actually used the “gay-bomb” idea as a marketing tool in a CD-ROM from 2001-2002 and that “the Pentagon… submitted it to the highest scientific review body in the country.”

So, much like the media’s coverage of this story, the original “gay bomb” idea may have been proposed, dismissed and then resurrected by a different branch of the military (in media terms, think print to blog to TV). Now the gay and lesbian communities, which are already suspicious of the U.S. military, have yet another reason to shake their heads in disbelief. And they are not alone. Leave aside the “Kids In The Hall” absurdity of “attack bees” and “gay bombs.” The fact that The United States Air Force asked for $7.5 million for a project that assumes a) sexual orientation can be altered through chemicals and b) homosexuals are more interested in sex than duty is certainly worthy of a second life in the blogosphere.

"Gay Bomb": What Would James Holsinger Say?

James Holsinger: Bush’s Wacky Nominee for Surgeon General Believes in "De-Gaying"

The United States Surgeon General has an important charge: to provide Americans with the best scientific information available in order to improve the national body politic’s health. So it stands to reason that the position of U.S. Surgeon General should be filled by someone informed by science. Unfortunately, James Holsinger isn’t capable of that. As a proponent of a 1991 white paper on “de-gaying,” he’s shown to be less than aware of basic medical science.

By Max Blumenthal, (HuffingtonPost.com), “Bush Nominates Surgeon General Who Supports ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy”

The concept of “ex-gay” therapy, repudiated by the medical world, will be thoroughly examined when Bush’s new surgeon general nominee comes up for confirmation.

James Holsinger, President George W. Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, has a dark view of homosexuals. In a 1991 paper, Holsinger describes homosexual sex in sickeningly lurid language. “Fist fornication,” “sphincter injuries,” “lacerations,” “perforations” and “deaths seen in connection with anal eroticism,” are some of the terms Holsinger concocted to describe acts with which he suggests at least medical familiarity (a case of participant observation, perhaps?). At the same paper, Holsinger puzzlingly issues no warnings about the dangers of heterosexual sex in his paper. To him, only “anal eroticism” is a health peril.

Holsinger’s allies — those who lobbied the White House for his nomination — include James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the Heritage Foundation. They have predictably cast his confirmation battle as a religious test, alleging that his homophobia is a reflection of orthodox Christian views. To oppose Holsinger on the grounds of his anti-gay sentiments, the right says, is to discriminate against him simply for being a bible-believing Christian. Why should he have to check his Christianity at the church exit door? they ask. This worn-out appeal to the Christian right’s victimhood complex distracts from the most salient argument against Holsinger’s confirmation — which is exactly what it is intended to do.

For a moment let’s put aside the moral case against Holsinger’s confirmation, and objectively examine his qualifications for America’s top doctor. Holsinger and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church. This church, according to its pastor, Rev. David Calhoun, has an “ex-gay” ministry that administers “reparative therapy” to people who no longer wish to be gay. “We see that as an issue not of orientation but a lifestyle,” Calhoun says. “We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle.”

Holsinger believes in ex-gay therapy. He therefore views homosexuality as a curable disease. Every major, reputable medical organization rejects ex-gay therapy and the notion that homosexuality constitutes a mental illness. Every single one. The most notable of these organizations is the American Psychological Association, the country’s largest organization of mental health professionals. In 1974, the APA stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder; last year, the group issued a pointed repudiation to the ideological proponents of ex-gay therapy. (It’s worth adding that conversion therapy supporters have not produced one single word of peer-reviewed work to support their theories).

Holsinger’s belief in discredited, crack-pot “conversion” therapy puts him in direct conflict with virtually the entire American medical community. Holsinger can believe in radical evangelical doctrine and he can hold bigoted views. As lamentable as these traits are, they don’t necessarily disqualify him for Surgeon General — though they certainly cast a dark shadow over his nomination. What instantly disqualifies Holsinger is his rejection of medical science. He can be politically incorrect, but he can’t be medically incorrect.

If history is any guide, conservatism and respect for science are not mutually exclusive. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, the co-author of a strident anti-abortion tract with evangelical dominionist godfather Francis Schaeffer, respected science. In the face of massive resistance from right-wing activists, Koop used his prestige to advocate for sex education and condom use to stanch the rising epidemic of AIDS. For Koop’s stand on medical principle, his one-time allies pressured Reagan into forcing him to resign. There is no indication Holsinger will follow Koop’s principled path.

When Holsinger goes before the Senate, ex-gay therapy goes on trial. He and his Republican supporters should be compelled to state their views on homosexuality and the crackpot practice the Christian right employs to “cure” people of it. Is homosexuality a treatable disease and how do they know it? (This question should be asked of GOP presidential contenders as well). If and when Holsinger’s nomination goes down in flames, ex-gay therapy will have received its most decisive repudiation yet.

James Holsinger: Bush’s Wacky Nominee for Surgeon General Believes in "De-Gaying"

An Exhausted Gay American

From John at An Exhausted Gay American, “This weekend KETV Omaha has provided live coverage of the ‘Love Won Out,’ Focus on the Family conference intended to ‘curb homosexuality’ and promote ‘the truth that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions.’ While this festival of self-loathing and monstrous bigotry plays out, Don Imus is fired for making a horribly tasteless and grossly inappropriate joke about a group of black women. But who cares about a bunch of fags? Obviously not any of our prominent civil rights crusaders” […]

An Exhausted Gay American

Out of the FOX Hole on Friday Night: Ann Coulter, a.k.a. "Coultergeist," Calls Edwards a "faggot" at 2 March CPAC

Would she use the “N” word to describe Obama? Sen. John Edwards (D, N.C.), not a favorite of anybody interesting I know, and a lame heteronormalizer if there ever was one (“Our children are the future…”), is suddenly Queer through democratic association.

Since Edwards is seemingly waiting to hear what the appropriate response should be to hate speech, we have to count on the good graces of the HRC. John Amaechi, HRC’s Coming Out Project spokesperson, speaks to Coulter’s prodigious inability to say anything worth writing, reading or listening to — unless, of course, it’s “provocative.”

“Hello, I’m John Amaechi, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Project. “Yesterday, Ann Coulter, in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Committee, used the ‘F’ word that has long been used as a hateful and harmful slur against gay people.
“I have worked as a youth mentor since I was in college, and in the weeks since I publicly came out I have heard from young people from all over the globe. Coming out and living openly can be challenging – and that challenge only grows when people like Ann Coulter mockingly use it as a cheap joke.

“Words have power – and this word in particular has a ricochet effect, as it emboldens bullies in the school yard, in the work place, and on the streets, and tells them that this kind of hate speech is ok.

“Ann Coulter knows better, yet continues to disparage the GLBT community. The people in the room with her yesterday would do well to speak out loudly against her remarks and more importantly her sentiment and send a message that harmful slurs never have a place in the public discourse.”

I think I’m liking this guy a lot more.

Out of the FOX Hole on Friday Night: Ann Coulter, a.k.a. "Coultergeist," Calls Edwards a "faggot" at 2 March CPAC

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(See Blabbeando’s coverage of this story!)

Por JUAN PABLO SANCHEZ NOLI para La Gaceta de La Argentina 26 de febrero, 2007:

“No se puede cambiar la patente, aunque tenga una sigla curiosa

En los registros de automotor se recibieron reclamos de usuarios, pero fueron rechazados. La ley impide que se varíen los dominios. Ya circulan chapas con las letras FEO o SEX. Ahora el sistema está en la letra G.

Circular por la calle en un vehículo con un cartel con la leyenda GAY, GIL o FEO, puede ser incómodo. Sin embargo la ley lo obliga y nada puede hacerse para evitarlo. En Tucumán hay patentes de autos cuyas letras forman palabras que, para algunas personas, resultan graciosas o hasta ofensivas. Algunos propietarios de vehículos con patentes de este tipo solicitaron el cambio de dominio, pero desde la Dirección Nacional de Registro Automotor aseguran que no pueden otorgárselo. Otros, lo toman con buen humor. Es el caso de Andrés, dueño de una empresa metalúrgica, quien recibió sin problemas la noticia de que la palabra GAY identificaría a los tres nuevos vehículos que había comprado su empresa. “Sí hubo obreros que hicieron comentarios, pero la patente no tiene nada que ver con la vida o la personalidad del dueño del auto ni de quien lo usa”, dijo.

Desde los 90

El encargado de uno de los registros habilitados en la provincia informó a LA GACETA que desde que se produjo el cambio a las nuevas chapas patentes conformadas por un código de tres letras y tres números, hace 13 años, en el norte se presentaron muchos problemas. Los autos usados cambiaron por patentes a partir de la letra R, y los nuevos comenzaron con la A. Ahora el sistema está entregando chapas con la letra G. “Una gran cantidad de usuarios quiso cambiar sus patentes, y costó mucho esfuerzo que se convencieran de que no se puede”, comentó.

Los más problemáticos

Según dijeron en los distintos registros, los dominios que incomodaron y generaron algunas consultas son FEA, FEO, ACA, ANO, XXX, SEX, URA y GAY. Además, afirmaron que reciben quejas cuando las letras de las chapas forman las iniciales de algún partido político o equipo de fútbol, como UCR o CAT. “En los años 90, cuando recién se hizo el cambio al nuevo sistema, tuvimos un planteo de un hombre al que se le había asignado una patente que, decía, formaba una mala palabra ,y quería cambiarla, pero no pudo”, comentó el encargado de uno de los registros consultados.

Son dominios, no palabras

En la Dirección Nacional de Registro del Automotor, en Buenos Aires, un hombre presentó una carta documento en la que exigía que se le asignara otra codificación a su vehículo porque la que tenía formaba la palabra GAY. Adujo que su auto iba a perder valor, pero la respuesta fue negativa. Los que hicieron los planteos dijeron ser víctimas de burlas, y aseguran que esa codificación les genera una potencial disminución del valor de mercado del automotor. Sin embargo, la Dirección Nacional considera que estos fundamentos son valoraciones subjetivas que no pueden justificar un cambio de identificación.“No se trata de palabras, sino de dominios que deben leerse letra por letra, más allá de los ejemplos subjetivos”, explicó Martín Penella, abogado encargado del área normativa de la repartición.

No hay denuncias, pero preocupan los prejuicios

Desde el Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación, la Xenofobia y el Racismo (Inadi) aseguraron que no recibieron denuncias por patentes ofensivas. Sin embargo, su titular, Graciela Cárdenas, señaló a LA GACETA que es importante trabajar sobre el prejuicio de las personas que se sienten agraviadas por este tipo de patentes. “Yo les hablaría a esas personas de los prejuicios, porque me parece que hay cosas más preocupantes (que las palabras en sí). Con respecto a una patente que diga GAY, creo que el tema va más por el prejuicio de que es malo ser tal cosa”, opinó Cárdenas.

La funcionaria contó que su primer auto, un Fiat 600, tenía como patente la sigla VHI y que en algún momento alguien le dijo que se parecía a HIV. “No me hice ningún problema; no creo que sea algo ofensivo. Nos reímos porque nos resultaba curioso que la combinación de caracteres formara esa sigla”, dijo. Sin embargo, si una persona se siente afectada por sus creencias o porque cree que puede afectar su personalidad, puede hacer una presentación ante el director nacional del Registro Automotor, Miguel Gallardo, en avenida Corrientes 5.666, Capital Federal. No hay mucha esperanza de que consiga algo. Pero hay que saber que el sistema ahora está por la letra G. Falta que lleguen patentes como HIV, HDP, o la que pueden temer los supersticiosos: KKK666.”

Esos argentinos, tan orgullosos, tan lejos de Europa….

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