the homo bomb


Homosexuality Is Stalin’s Atom Bomb to Destroy America explores how players on both sides of the cold war did their own appropriating, using the idea of homosexuality as a political weapon. The exhibition includes photos of atomic explosions printed with quotations from US politicians, for instance: “You can’t hardly separate homosexuals from subversives. Mind you, I don’t say every homosexual is a subversive, and I don’t say every subversive is a homosexual. But a man of low morality is a menace in the government, whatever he is, and they are all tied up together.” Such absurd equations show how homosexuality became a floating signifier, associated with whatever political tendency one most disliked. Rather than representing a certain group of people, it represented everything that was wrong—whatever that meant. America’s Red Scare bled into its Lavender Scare; the Soviets associated homosexuality with capitalism and fascism. But empty as it was, the political use of the trope of homosexuality had a devastating effect on real people from both countries.

more from Sophie Pinkham at n+1 here.