“Space . . . the final sexual and gender identity frontier . . . . *UPDATED*

The following letter went out to all NASA employees:

Message from NASA's Administrator

I’m not focusing on the merits of the Administrator’s statements.  I’m just wondering about the appropriateness of NASA’s Administrator taking it upon himself to be an LGBT spokesperson, broadcasting those views on NASA’s behalf to the entire NASA community.  I was under the impression that NASA was concerned with Air and Space, not social policy.  Silly me.

UPDATE:  Am I the only one who finds it amusing that NASA, of all the available government organizations, has taken upon itself the task of both LGBT and Muslim outreach?  It’s hard to imagine two more different constituencies.

UPDATE IIAt Snapped Shot, you can see how the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency is celebrating this month.

I should add here that I’m not trying to be homophobic in any way.  I just think that the mission of NASA should be space, and the Customs and Border Protection Agency should be focusing on our border.  I’d be equally peeved if both organizations spent ridiculous amounts of time and money, not to mention cluttering up their employee’s offices and email boxes, with posters raving about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any other calendar moment.  It’s one thing to make an inclusive work place.  It’s another thing for federal agencies to go far beyond their original/intended mandate.

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Comments

  1. Brian L. says

    Ah, the joys of political appointments! Here’s the note that the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights at Customs and Border Patrol sent out. Much like you observe, who knew that social policy was of such importance to what is essentially a law enforcement agency!
     
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) acknowledges Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month and the theme, “Pride Around the World,” as many people celebrate a very important part of themselves.  CBP strives to maintain a workplace that reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion, which contributes to the success of our agency.  Thus, we observe LGBT Pride Month and recognize the progress our nation has made in creating a society that is more inclusive and accepting of the LGBT community and where fear and prejudice are increasingly replaced with understanding and tolerance.
    Four decades ago, the struggle for equal rights based on sexual orientation gained notoriety in June, 1969, when a popular New York City gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, was raided by police.  Protests that sparked as a result of the raid are credited with initiating the gay liberation movement.
    Today, while members of the LGBT community still face discrimination and inequality in various areas, President Barack Obama took actions to extend federal benefits for same sex couples.  Indeed, members of the LGBT community have contributed to America’s great accomplishments and have helped to influence a fundamental awareness that our Nation draws its strength from our diversity.
    During the month of June, there will be observances and events at various CBP locations designed to promote awareness and appreciation of LGBT Pride Month.  I encourage all CBP employees to attend and participate in the events and activities in your local areas.  To locate events and activities in your local area, please take a moment and visit the Gallery of Events on the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights (DCR) website on CBPnet for programs in your geographic location. If you have program questions, please feel free to contact your local DCR Officer.
    Franklin C. Jones
    Executive Director
    Office of Diversity and Civil Rights

  2. Brian L. says

    PS: You should see the… colorful poster that they attached to help celebrate this important month. I’d be happy to e-mail it to you if you want to see it. (I think it’s worth a chuckle…)

  3. Doug says

    Keep in mind that if you ask NASA people what NASA does, they’ll say K-12 science education, especially by inspiring students because space is interesting and they make pretty pictures.  The whole “air and space” thing is just a hook.  if you ask them about exploration they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.  I was really kind of shocked by this when I started meeting NASA people at conferences but it’s been universally true.  So I’m sure they just see it as another educational component…

  4. Care says

    Thank you, Brian, for posting the abhorrent poster link.  I featured it on my family blog:  macmurchy.blogspot.com

    Have mercy!  There was a day in our nation when that which was true and right and good trumped and prevailed.  Thankfully there is a remnant that has not lost their way. God help us when that which is abhorrent to the Creator is lauded, and the thing He adores is considered narrow-minded and intolerant.  God have mercy on my children and my children’s children.  Yours as well, Brian and BookWorm.   We all have a part to play ~ grateful that you are playing yours.

  5. Charles Martel says

    BrianE, scientists that smart should be able to connect to lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/transsexual/questioning Muslims.

    The only problem is that Muslims have a habit of eliminating Gilbert folk.

  6. Brian L. says

    I object to the notion of “homophobia” outright, incidentally. There is absolutely no way that the force of law is ever justified in forcing people to “accept,” “like,” or even “tolerate” other groups of people. So long as said dislike doesn’t degenerate into violence, I am of the opinion that “hatred” is really none of the government’s business.
    (Maybe I’m just old-fashioned… Or maybe I’m grumpy. Who knows?)

  7. roylofquist says

    This is part and parcel of the putsch which I, and many others foresaw more than two years ago.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putsch

    I attended one of the first Tea Parties on April 15, 2009. The spontaneous alarm was triggered not so much by the size of the stimulus but the suddenness of its passage with unanimous Republican opposition.

    This was followed by the “Czars”, the unilateral override of 200 years of bankruptcy jurisprudence in the auto bailouts, the seizure of control of major companies, the Obamacare stuff-down,  the end around of Congress re Cap and Trade via the EPA, the blatant power of the NLRB vis-a-vis Boeing, the attempt to restore the “Fairness Doctrine” and seizure of the internet by the FCC….  My fingers are tired.

    The economic crisis is painful, but this country has weathered tempest and wars much worse – and sits astride the world. Nay, it is not the economy that worries me. It is the attempt to rip out the heart of our Constitution.

  8. says

    You’re neither old-fashioned nor grumpy, Brian.  I agree with you completely.  I’ve written before that there are people and groups I don’t like, but I don’t wish them ill — provided, of course, that they’re not out to get me.  I should be allowed to dislike whom I want, although I would also hope that I can be intelligent, objective and analytical enough to see beyond my own biases.  I’ve always liked that Harry Truman, a casual antisemite, recognized the State of Israel; and that Harry Truman, an active Southern racist, integrated the US military.  He was able to put principles ahead of prejudice, which is a rare quality.

  9. Care says

    Yes Brian L, to ‘legislate’ attitudes is misplaced and will not change anyone’s mind.  

    What I find egregious is that the dictated mandates of the ‘progressive’ left, are often the antithesis of Scriptural truth. Thus, we find ourselves at this juncture of American history without an Anchor.  There used to be nearly universal agreement on a national ethos, right and wrong.  Judeo-Christian ethics.  That has been replaced with the empty suit, political correctness.

    Cutting to the chase, don’t legislate that I have to tolerate, accept, condone, and applaud miscreant behavior.   “Every man doing what seems right in his own eyes” is where we find ourselves sans the Ancient Anchor.

  10. Brian L. says

    Bookworm: For the most part, I agree. I believe in treating each individual person as G-d would have us treat them, with the utmost respect for their individual self, and even though it sounds cheesy, to illustrate His love to each person as an individual.
    Special interest groups, on the other hand, are non-entities as far as I’m concerned. I have yet to find anything in Scripture that would imply my need to serve artificial groups of people joined together to promote sin.  (And just to be clear, it’s the groups that promote sin that irritate me the most.)
     
    Care: You’re absolutely right — It definitely feels like we’re starting to see a hint of what “the latter days” is going to look like.  I’m definitely not liking what I see, but maybe that’s just because of where I happen to live (“occupied” Northern Virginia ;) )

  11. Brian L. says

    Side note: Is it “the latter days” is, since “the latter days” is a statement in quotation?
    Or is it “the latter days” are?
    Ah, the things that keep me up at night…

  12. Care says

    By no means am I a grab-your-women-and children end-times theorist, Brian L, but I did just post your linked LGBT poster on my family blog with this note: Remind me one more time, why we are chest-thumping proud?

    In the last days, men will call what is abominable, good. 
    And what God revers, narrow-minded and intolerant.
    God save us

  13. Care says

    Wannabe-editor’s note to Brian L:  I would say “…what the latter days are going to look like,” because ‘days’ are plural so you would use ‘are’ rather than ‘is.’  (example:  “how many days are left” rather than “how many days is left.”)  My daughter is a journalist and myself an old English major, so I love this stuff.  No worries, sleep peacefully  :)

  14. socratease says

    Is it too much to ask that NASA just build the rockets on schedule and within budget and keep them from blowing up and crashing?  This kind of stuff is what substitutes for real accomplishments in this administration.  And then we wonder why the trillions of dollars in taxes we pay aren’t enough to get the job done that they said they’d do.

  15. Libby says

    Am I the only one alarmed by the McGreevy-like references to  “gay and lesbian Americans” and the need to separately recognize their contributions? If a NASA employee is, say, a black lesbian, does this mean she has her contributions celebrated in both February and June? What about all of the un-hyphenated American  employees at NASA, such as a straight man of Irish descent – are his contributions less laudatory?
    At some point this starts coming off as a backhanded compliment, such as “For a girl, you throw well.”

  16. e-girl says

    As someone who is transsexual, let me say how utterly cringeworthy this latest wankfest from NASA is.  I can’t really say anything on behalf of LGB people, but those of us who are are trans or intersex just want to deal with our problem then get on with life.
     
    As for NASA, what does it exist?  The private sector is the future of space travel.  They’ll put people and things into space for less money than any government programme.  Oh, they’ll also hire lots of transsexuals, because a large proportion of us (me included) are engineers – not because of some government mandate, but because of a need for engineers and IT geeks and such like.
     
    E.
     

  17. jj says

    Given the subject matter of the memo, to lead with: “As we progress further into the…”  may not have been the wisest of all possible choices for the writer.

  18. says

    NASA was private sector when it started. Given the lack of government infrastructure, a lot of the contracts went into the private sector. That’s where the “technology” came from. As NASA grew older and more stultified, it became a true government bureaucracy. Cover your arse and fight for more budget next year. That’s about it.

  19. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    After reading the “administrator’s message, I don’t feel so bad about passing along that post-Challenger disaster joke about NASA standing for “Need Another Seven Astronauts”.  No sticking to the knitting for them.

  20. says

    Two points, if I may:

    1.  I simply do not believe that the people commenting here would be as upset about NASA reaching beyond its mission if the subject was Mother’s Day rather than LGBT.  As Brian acknowledged, “it’s the groups that promote sin that irritate me the most.” 

    2.  I’m afraid that the equal rights for LGBT train has left the station.  Whether one likes it or not or thinks it’s sinful or whatever, discrimination against people who are LGBT will not be permitted in the American future.  Once gays can serve openly in the military the ball game is over.  Of course, I may be all wrong (I often am), but I don’t see us going back, any more than I see us going back to allowing discrimination based on race.

  21. BrianE says

    Homosexuals insist that their sexual identity is genetic and can’t be treated.

    Is that the same for Bisexuals and Transgender folk? Aren’t transgender and bisexual people just confused about their identity? Could they be treated?

     E-girl mentioned transsexual– which I assume includes physically assuming the makeup of the sex you identify with. Does transgender have more to do with cross dressing, etc?

    So shouldn’t it be LGBTT?

    And why do Gays and Lesbians need separate categories? Is there something comparable with hetereosexuals?

  22. Charles Martel says

    Honoring Mother’s Day does not involve talking about Mom’s sexual habits and proclivities. That’s what bothers me most about proclamations like this; it’s like being forced to listen to three year olds announce that they have peepees and can do poopoo.

    That’s nice, but I really don’t know how it’s germane to putting people into space or exploring the solar system. “Hey, Manny, I see that your genital discovered water on Titan!” “Yo, Bertha, wow, your vulva really did some heavy lifting on those new equations for Opportunity!”

  23. FunkyPhD says

    DQ, no one is arguing in favor of discrimination in the workplace (at least not in this thread). What I and, I think, others object to is the easy slide from nondiscrimination to respect to pride, making the important ethical differences between these actions into a simple continuum. I agree that I am legally and morally obligated to act in non-discriminatory ways toward LGBT people. But that doesn’t mean I have to respect and celebrate them; nor am I obliged to acknowledge the pride they take in their freely enacted decision to sexually excite themselves by rubbing their bodies against members of the same sex. Presumably that decision has nothing to do with their performance as engineers or astronauts or mechanics. Haven’t we had enough of this overcompensation for past wrongs via these (as e-girl put it) cringe-worthy rituals of phony comradeship? But I guess this is what we have to expect when we elect a college professor president of the United States.

  24. says

    Charles Martel: Honoring Mother’s Day does not involve talking about Mom’s sexual habits and proclivities.

    Charles. psst. Charles. About the making-baby thing… It’s not really a stork.

  25. Libby says

    Exactly, Funky PhD. Just as I don’t expect NASA (or my private sector employer) to ask employees to celebrate their colleagues’ other personal lifestyle choices, such as religion, marital status, or party affiliation, it is just as out of place to call out specific sexual preference and gender identity choices for recognition and celebration.
    More importantly, it’s illegal to discuss sexual preference/gender identity during a job interview, or to consider it when evaluating an employee’s performance and career advancement opportunities. So, to  then call it out for recognition and encourage all employees to celebrate LGBT’s particular achievements and participate in one of the “pride” events (as the ICE brochure refers the reader to a company-provided list of events) sends a mixed message. Either it matters, or it doesn’t. And if it does matter, tell me why – beyond all that pie-in-the-sky, diversity makes us stronger garbage we’ve been hearing for so long.

  26. says

    I simply do not believe that the people commenting here would be as upset about NASA reaching beyond its mission if the subject was Mother’s Day rather than LGBT.

    Stop comparing water to nitrogen, DQ.

    I’m pretty sure we won’t be upset if NASA does something about Christmas or Memorial Day or Independence Day. Then again, LGBT pride week, isn’t any of those, now is it, DQ.

  27. says

    I was referring to Bookworm’s comment: “I’d be equally peeved if both organizations spent ridiculous amounts of time and money, not to mention cluttering up their employee’s offices and email boxes, with posters raving about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any other calendar moment.”  Much as I love Bookworm, and respect her opinion, I don’t think that statement is true, specifically because you are right.  It is water to nitrogen.

  28. says

    The logic is subordinating the cause to the effect. If the effect of NASA’s works is generating a GLBT pride focus on other national holidays, sub-cultural events, and local events, then that was because there was a cause. The cause for the GLBT pride focus is a negative one. The cause for other such events would be equally negative if undertaken with a GLBT pride focus in mind.

    The chances are lower simply because it’s hard to generate a negative political community organization action with Mother’s Day or Independence Day or Christmas. The negative effects of a GLBT parade on NASA and the nation, is far higher than the negative consequences of a Mother’s Day marathon, assuming equal work and relatively equal circumstances.

    However, should the Left actually do with Mother’s Day what they are doing with GLBT, then cause leads to effect. The effect of a Mother’s Day GLBT assumes the existence of the cause, which has a negative consequence for NASA and the US. By spending ridiculous amounts of time and money on Mother’s Day, NASA and the Left would signal that they are working on something few people will like or benefit from. Currently they have not, but Book’s statement is true if the reality matches the description. You don’t think that statement is true because you’ve never seen or even imagined how the Left can turn Mother’s Day into a counter-cultural, sub-cultural, or anti-American parade. So when the Left is advertising Mother’s Day, you will tend to assume it’s a positive, not negative, production. However, if the Left truly, as Book described it, put in the same energy into Mother’s Day as they did GLBT, I would have high suspicions that they were working on something inherently subversive and harmful to the public health. The Left and the government does not put such efforts into things unless it pays out a dividend. And what benefits the Left and the government, 99% of the time will not benefit anyone else lacking power in America.

    Realistically the chances are low, thus nitrogen won’t turn into water or vice a versa, absent some extraordinary circumstances.

  29. Ron19 says

    A few days ago, my wife and I were having a heated discussion about a promotion that her daughter had applied for.

    Toward the end, since I was not agreeing wholeheartedly with everything my wife was saying and instead deconstructing what she was saying, my wife’s last shot was, “You’re not giving her credit!”

    My reply was, “I do hope that she gets the promotion!  You’re the one not giving her credit!  You’ve spent five minutes saying that she deserves the promotion because she’s a woman!  You also spent half a minute saying she earned her college degree because she was a single mother!”
    I live with a liberal troll, God bless her.

  30. Ron19 says

    Here in Southern California, whenever there was a major earthquake in the area, two female geologists at Caltech would show up for live-on-TV explaining, etc.  For some reason, one of them would always show up with her little daughter.  She also was the better one at explaining what was going on, and what the seismographs were showing.

    A few years ago, a local (PBS?) station had a special on the other geologist, essentially celebrating that she was a good/great geologist because she was a lesbian.
     

  31. Ron19 says

    Brian L. says,

    There is absolutely no way that the force of law is ever justified in forcing people to “accept,” “like,” or even “tolerate” other groups of people. So long as said dislike doesn’t degenerate into violence, I am of the opinion that “hatred” is really none of the government’s business.
     
    For a number of years now, the force of law has been used to “not accept,” “not like,” or even “not tolerate”  Christianity and Judaism, especially Catholicism.

  32. Ron19 says

    A lot of government organizations are doing something about Christmas.

    They are changing/renaming/eliminating it, especially in public schools and universities.

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