Good grief: “Queering nuclear weapons: How LGBTQ+ inclusion strengthens security”

It reads like satire, but it’s real. And it really is a mental illness. The people who wrote this, and their readership, truly believe these things. Try to stay with it to the end, it gets worse as it goes along. God help us. -nvp

Queering nuclear weapons: How LGBTQ+ inclusion strengthens security and reshapes disarmament

By Louis ReitmannSneha Nair | June 15, 2023

“They should not allow mentally ill people near weapons of mass destruction.” That was one of dozens of derogatory tweets that the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation received in response to a December 2022 panel discussion on LGBTQ+ identity in the nuclear weapons space. Most of these tweets were purely hateful, written by trolls. But some respondents explained their opposition, saying that talk about queerness was inserting a non-issue and “derailing” discussions of nuclear weapons. All showed a keen determination to misunderstand the purpose of the event… the disparaging tweets illustrated the common belief that queer identity has no relevance for nuclear policy, and that examining the relationship between queerness and nuclear policy is intended to push a social agenda rather than to address substantive issues… the visible representation and meaningful participation of queer people matters for nuclear policy outcomes. Discrimination against queer people can undermine nuclear security and increase nuclear risk. And queer theory can help change how nuclear practitioners, experts, and the public think about nuclear weapons…

When the stakes of making best-informed decisions are as high as they are with nuclear weapons, governments cannot afford to lose out on the human capital and innovation potential of queer people. Informed by their life experiences, queer people have specific skills to offer that are valuable in a policy and diplomacy context. LGBTQ+ people often must navigate being different from those around them; develop the ability to listen and empathize; and mobilize the skill and perseverance to make themselves heard… Diversity and inclusion are especially important for the policy community dealing with arsenal development and nuclear posture.

Exclusion creates nuclear security risks. Exclusion and unfair treatment of queer individuals and other minorities by a homogenous, cis-heteronormative community of practitioners also creates vulnerabilities in nuclear decision making. Cis-heteronormativity is the automatic assumption that someone is heterosexual and identifies with the sex assigned to them at birth. It creates the idea that being heterosexual and cisgender is normal and natural, whereas being queer or trans is a deviation.

Queer identity is also relevant for the nuclear field because it informs theories that aim to change how officials, experts, and the public think about nuclear weapons. Queer theory is a field of study, closely related to feminist theory, that examines sex- and gender-based norms. It shines a light on the harm done by nuclear weapons through uranium mining, nuclear tests, and the tax money spent on nuclear weapons ($60 billion annually in the United States) instead of on education, infrastructure, and welfare. The queer lens prioritizes the rights and well-being of people over the abstract idea of national security, and it challenges the mainstream understanding of nuclear weapons—questioning whether they truly deter nuclear war, stabilize geopolitics, and reduce the likelihood of conventional war. Queer theory asks: Who created these ideas? How are they being upheld? Whose interests do they serve? And whose experiences are being excluded?

Queer theory also identifies how the nuclear weapons discourse is gendered: Nuclear deterrence is associated with “rationality” and “security,” while disarmament and justice for nuclear weapon victims are coded as “emotion” and a lack of understanding of the “real” mechanics of security. The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, a 19-year protest against the storage of US nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom, called attention to the gendered nature of nuclear weapons. The camp’s inhabitants—many lesbian—recognized that the same male-dominated power structures underpinned the oppression of women and nuclear armament. Their protests, often involving feminine-coded symbols like pictures of children, defined nuclear weapons by the existential threat they pose, instead of the protection they supposedly offer. From the queer perspective, the allegation of “derailing” substantive discussions through a non-traditional perspective on nuclear weapons is itself an attempt to exclude marginalized voices and reinforce the idea that nuclear weapons are a domain only for “serious” and “rational” (i.e. male) actors.

(it goes on and on and on):

5 thoughts on “Good grief: “Queering nuclear weapons: How LGBTQ+ inclusion strengthens security””

    1. Well, the more BS someone is trying to push the more the wall of words is used. Truth is spoken in concise and clear language.This is nothing but garbage.

  1. The editorial is preposterous, but at least the comments from readers of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists were well considered.

    Why are scientists and academics expected to just accept so-called Queer Theory at face value? Just because some left wing ideology is documented in word salad dissertations from gender studies doctoral candidates? Who are all these marginalized and silenced voices? They get a whole month of attention. How is this marginalized? And why is the voice of perverts supposed to be so valuable – sin clouds reason. If anything, persistent sin reduces intelligence. It’s institutional insanity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.