Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine

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Congratulations, LGBTQ America! Donald Trump, the man who stumbled and swindled and lied his way into the presidency, has finally made good on his promise to be the very best president queers ever done seen.

One word: Germany.

OK, more than one word: Trump appointed a gay man, Richard Grenell, as ambassador to Germany, and he’s confirmed and everything.
Mark my words: By the end of his presidency, America will be repped to the world by LGBTQ people exclusively because Trump loves his LGBTQs just like he loves his “African-American.”

Ha ha, just kidding. Grenell is a nice touch and all, but that’s like squirting some contact-lens solution onto a roaring fire and saying you tried to put it out — because the Trump administration is an anti-LGBTQ inferno.

Take, for example, another recent appointee: Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.). Bridenstine now heads NASA, a.k.a. the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, after being confirmed by the Senate along party lines.

But his confirmation took a long time. Seven months! And if you follow Trump on Twitter (and I don’t really 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 have been holding up his nominations and they 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 in a normal administration would be a problem, but in this administration is par for the course), he also hates the gays. Which is also a popular position in this administration, but not in America as a whole so much (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 should be commended, or at least you would think, tolerated,” he said in a speech on the House floor. “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 their own separate-but-equal group for gay and/or “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 where he can start his own right-wing moon colony, I will not. Because I actually believe that the work NASA does is important. I am disappointed to see someone in charge of it who not only doesn’t seem to value that work, but who 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 too.

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.

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