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National LGBTQ organization condemns Space Camp hysteria, “Don’t Say Gay” bill

GLSEN condemned the recent harassment of a Space Camp employee and “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.


A national non-profit that works to support LGBTQ+ youth released a statement condemning the recent harassment of a Space Camp employee and the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

The organization is called the Gay, Lesbian Straight and Education Network (GLSEN). Last week, several conservative congressmen and legislators from Alabama targeted a transgender Space Camp employee after a viral Facebook post acknowledged they worked there. This included U.S. Congressmen Rep. Dale Strong, Rep. Robert Aderholt, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Rep. Gary Palmer and State Rep. Mack Butler, R-Gadsden.

All of the congressmen released comments saying that the employee should not be allowed to work around children merely because of the fact they were trans and insinuating they would sexually harm children. There are several federal laws in place that protect transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace.

Yet, Butler said that he plans on expanding his current “Don’t Say Gay” legislation to encompass Space Camp after only hearing secondhand information about the situation. The legislation, HB130, would expand the prohibition on discussing or teaching about sexual identity or gender to all public schools and Space Camp. Currently, the law prevents this discussion up until 5th grade.

When asked if he thinks transgender people should be employed at Space Camp Butler told APR that he thinks being transgender is a mental illness and doesn’t think mentally ill people should be around children.

“(Transgenderism) has always been a mental defect; that’s fact — up until Obama came on the scene,” Butler said. “Now all of a sudden it seems to be glorified, or almost encouraged. You can pretend to be whatever you want, but I don’t have to pretend along with you. … I’m concerned about putting someone mentally unstable with children.”

GLSEN’s Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jagger said that the legislation is intended to force LGBTQ+ people back into the closet.

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“The latest attempts to expand Alabama’s regressive ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill beyond the classroom shows that extremist legislators will stop at nothing to silence our community and push LGBTQI+ people back into the closet,” Willingham-Jagger said. “GLSEN stands firmly against this legislative overreach that weaponizes state government to perpetuate further harassment and targeting of employees at Space Camp. When the Supreme Court has already ruled that employees are protected from workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the legislature should reject these shortsighted efforts to intimidate hardworking Alabamans into silence. We express our unwavering support to ALTRAC, the Alabama Transgender Rights Action Coalition, and stand in solidarity with all LGBTQI+ students and educators in Alabama.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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