Monday, June 22, 2009

I wanna be an Astronaut - a GAY Astronaut!

Okay, so now you know my childhood ambition.

Never mind that being on a see-saw made me queasy. Or that I could never read in the car without getting sick. Or that I quickly grew too tall to qualify...

I loved reading sci fi and fantasy books about life and adventures on other worlds, and you had to be an astronaut to GET to other worlds... so...

I wanted to be an astronaut. But, could I be gay, could I like other guys, and still follow that dream? There wasn't anyone gay in ANY of those books. Even the world of Star Wars was very "straight" and the multiple iterations of Star Trek (even the awesome new movie!) didn't have ANY queer people in the future!

And then I saw this message from NASA, sent out this month:

Message from the Acting Administrator -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month

During the month of June, NASA is joining other organizations throughout the United States to observe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.

LGBT Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969, when patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that was all too common for members of the LGBT community during that era. Celebrating LGBT Pride each June commemorates this act of rejecting discrimination and standing up for the American values of fairness and equality.

This month-long observance gives all of us an opportunity to appreciate the accomplishments of LGBT Americans and celebrate the many contributions members of the LGBT community make daily to the fabric of American life. Members of the LGBT community contribute to the richness of our diversity as a country, playing vital roles in all aspects of our nation, including here at NASA today and throughout the history of the space program. LGBT people like Todd Hawley, co-founder of the International Space University, and atmospheric scientist James Pollack have made important contributions that we all have benefitted from.

LGBT Pride Month is a reflection of NASA's commitment to inclusiveness across the broad spectrum of our workforce. NASA strives to be a model employer by ensuring it adheres to the principles of inclusion. These principles include fairness and respect for the many different backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences of our employees. We are committed to practicing these principles in all facets of our work.

At NASA, we value and acknowledge the many achievements and contributions of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees in working toward the success of our agency. I encourage you to participate in the programs and activities planned at your NASA center in your community for LGBT Pride Month. If there aren't yet planned events at your center, I encourage you to organize one. Take time to learn about the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, and celebrate the diversity that has helped shape and strengthen NASA and our nation.

Christopher J. Scolese
Acting Administrator

Okay, one more time. I wanna be an astronaut!

Well, actually, I still don't really like roller coasters (or see-saws). So maybe I'll let YOU be the astronauts.

Calling all Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Teens who dream of being Astronauts...

Your STARSHIP is waiting!


ps- The rainbow flag on the moon image is from this great article on Wired, "Space, the Final Frontier for Homosexuality."


fairyhedgehog said...

I couldn't be an astronaut because I was a girl. NASA may say that there was no discrimination but that's not how it looked to me. We were given this little booklet at school called Careers For Girls and it did not include pilots or astronauts (or most other interesting jobs either). (You can see why I make common cause with you, right?)

I did think that by now we'd be having recreational flights to the moon, though, and I imagined going. Even though I used to get horribly car sick too.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

I totally hear you, and yes, I do see why we make common cause - I think that MOST homophobia is based in misogyny (most put-downs of gay men are actually comparisons of gay men to women... - even the classic, "you run like a girl!"

Have you seen "Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream" (Paperback)
by Tanya Lee Stone?

I'm curious about it, but also concerned that since none of them actually went into space, that it might be a huge downer to read.

But there is this, from the editorial synopsis:

But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS is the story of thirteen true pioneers of the space age.

have a great day!

fairyhedgehog said...

Cheers, Lee! I think it's sad that they didn't go, for whatever reason.

I'm not sure which was the worse situation at the time: to be female and automatically suffer discrimination (because it's not something you could hide), or to be gay and feel compelled to hide who you are if you wanted to be treated seriously.

I hadn't thought about the link between homophobia and misogyny but it makes sense. I'm so glad things have changed and are changing for all of us.