It’s no secret — well, no longer a secret — that a United States Air Force research laboratory once proposed developing a chemical “weapon” that when dropped on enemy camps, would act as a potent aphrodisiac and turn everyone gay.
Funny, we always just assumed that’s what they put in the fog machines at circuit parties.
But for readers who aren’t familiar with the government’s so-called “gay bomb,” it might surprise you to learn that what sounds like a diabolical 1950s plan ripped from the cutting room floor of Dr. Stragelove, was actually conceived of in 1994.
The same year Ace Of Base saw “The Sign” and the Cranberries asked if we had to let it “Linger,” some government-paid shill sat in a basement in Ohio trying to actualize a gay bomb. 1994 is also the year the Clinton administration enacted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
And even if you do remember the story, which broke in 2007 through a Freedom of Information Request by the Sunshine Project, and went on to earn the lab the Ig Nobel Prize (the Razzie awards of the scientific community) the same year, chances are you haven’t actually seen the documents in question.
The entire thing reads like a high school science fair project gone very wrong, starting with the title — “Harassing, Annoying, and ‘Bad Guy’ Identifying Chemicals”:
It goes on to suggest such brilliant ideas as dropping chemicals that would attract aggressive rodents to enemy camps, and chemicals that would give enemies an “annoying” smell.
And then at the top of page two — “Category #3: Chemicals that effect [sic] human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected [sic]. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior. Another example would be a chemical that made personnel very sensitive to sunlight.”
You can find the full three-page document here, which goes on to request such technological gems as a chemical that would “attract bees and cause them to sting.”
It concludes that “Some chemicals should only be used on enemy forces, while others could be used on mixtures of enemy personnel and civilians.” How very comforting.
The whole thing would be a lot funnier if it wasn’t so real, though that didn’t stop Tina Fey from taking up the subject in an episode of 30 Rock about a year later: