Researchers are calling on leaders around the world to strengthen their national security by applying “queer theory” to their nuclear weapons policy.
A pair of researchers declared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that “queer” ideology as it relates to nuclear issues isn’t about “pushing a social agenda.”
Instead, they insist that it’s about creating a more “effective policy.”
According to the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation’s Louis Reitmann and Sneha Nair of the Stimson Center, “governments cannot afford to lose out on the human capital and innovation potential of queer people” when discussing the “high stakes” topic of nukes.
These allegedly come from LGBTQ folks’ “life experiences” such as empathy, perseverance, and being able to “navigate being different.”
Reitmann and Nair claim that the “homogenous, cis-heteronormative community of practitioners” makes nuclear policy “vulnerable” by leaving out LGBTQ people and other minorities.
“Cis-heteronormativity […] creates the idea that being heterosexual and cisgender is normal and natural, whereas being queer or trans is a deviation,” they claim.
The duo also claims that queer theory “shines a light on the harm done by nuclear weapons” by focusing on individuals’ “rights and well-being” over national security.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is famous for its “Doomsday Clock.”
The widely cited theoretical timeframe takes account of various geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine or the 2017 inauguration of President Trump to determine how close the world is to an apocalypse.
The publication also theorizes about other dangerous scenarios due to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and so-called “climate change.”
The publication argued, “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.”
It then appeared to categorize established deterrence discourse as being viewed as far too masculine and “rational.”
“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 publication claimed.
The article then cited how “many lesbian” members of the “Common Women’s Peace Camp,” a nearly two-decade protest against the storage of US nuclear weapons in the UK, drew attention to the “gendered nature” of nuclear weapons.
The researchers also cite The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, a “19-year protest against the storage of US nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom,” as an example.
“The camp’s inhabitants—many lesbian—recognized that the same male-dominated power structures underpinned the oppression of women and nuclear armament,” they insist.
It added further that “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.”
However, the same story noted that “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.”
The writers argued that “queer theory” rejects the “binary” thinking that “nuclear deterrence creates security and disarmament creates vulnerability” and instead encourages people to imagine a world where nuclear weapons are unnecessary.
It continues by emphasizing the importance of “queer theory” for spreading “sensitivity to the struggles” of groups that have been “marginalized” by “cis-heteronormative society.”
After noting that “queer theory informs the struggle for nuclear justice and disarmament,” the writers then claim that the entire field of nuclear weapons policy is “[continuing] to reflect on its legacy of exclusion and homogeneity during this Pride Month.”