Congratulations, LGBTQ America! Donald Trump, the man who stumbled and swindled and lied his way into the presidency, finally made good on his promise of becoming the very bestest president queers ever done seen. He appointed a gay man, Richard Grenell, ambassador to Germany. Grenell is a nice touch and all, but that’s like squirting contact-lens solution onto a roaring fire to put it out. Because the Trump administration is an anti-LGBTQ inferno. Take, for example, another recent appointee: Rep. Jim Bridenstine. He now heads NASA after confirmed by the Senate along party lines.
But his confirmation took a long time. Seven months. And if you follow Trump on Twitter (I don’t advise it because he’s super awful and unhinged) you know that he’s been crying on the internet about how those damn obstructionist Democrats are holding up his nominations and are so mean and nasty. “Boo hoo, they won’t let me stock the government with completely unqualified and hateful people.”
Bridenstine’s nomination was slow going because a lot of Democrats did, in fact, oppose him. With good reason. Not only is he a climate change denier (which should be a problem since NASA has played a role in studying such change), he also hates the gays. Which is also a popular position in his administration, but not so much in America as a whole — despite how horrible things feel right now.
A little about Bridenstine: he has a zero score from the Human Rights Campaign (psst: that’s the lowest possible score). Again, with good reason. Take the Boy Scouts, for example. As you may remember, they used to not allow gay boys to be scouts. In 2013, they lifted that ban. And Bridenstine was not having it.
“Some of us in America still believe in the concept of sexual morality, that sex is intended for one man and one woman within the institution of marriage. Organizations that hold this philosophy and promote it among our youth deserve commendation, or at least you would think, tolerated,” he said in a speech. “Unfortunately, the intolerant left bullies and browbeats private organizations like the Boy Scouts into accepting their philosophy. Notice they didn’t start their own organization. They went after the Boy Scouts of America.”
Darn those gays and that intolerant left, so lazy they wouldn’t even start a separate but equal group for gay and “sexually immoral” scouts.
“The left’s agenda is not about tolerance, and it’s not about diversity of thought,” Bridenstine continued. “It’s about presenting a worldview of relativism, where there is no right and wrong.”
Ah, the old “gays don’t even know right from wrong” argument. It’s a short jump from there to talking about penises and butts.
While I could make a joke about how Bridenstine should be launched into space to start a right-wing moon colony, I will not. Because I believe that the work NASA does is important. I’m disappointed that someone in charge of it not only devalues that work but also besmirches the legacy of Sally Ride. It’s because of people like Bridenstine that Ride didn’t come out until her obituary. She and her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, deserved better. America deserves better.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.