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Right-wing officials gang up to lob vicious attacks on a single transgender Space Camp employee

LGBTQ rights activists protest SB14 at the Capitol of Texas Tuesday, May 2, 2023. SB14 would ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender children Tx Lege Trans Protest Mlc 00701
LGBTQ rights activists protest SB14 at the Capitol of Texas Tuesday, May 2, 2023. SB14 would ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender children Tx Lege Trans Protest Mlc 00701 Photo: Mikala Compton / USA TODAY NETWORK

Multiple Alabama politicians have made open calls for an employee of the Huntsville Space Camp to be fired after they learned the employee is transgender.

Clay Yarbrough, a parent of one of the camp attendees, posted on Facebook complaining about the fact that one of the employees supervising the girls is transgender. He referred to this employee as a “freak.” This prompted a response on Twitter from U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-AL), and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), who each called for the termination of the employee.

“It is imperative that Space Camp remains a safe place for children and young people,” said Tuberville. “I urge the Space and Rocket Center to ensure that its reputation as a world-renowned camp remains untarnished by the progressive agenda of today.”

“I call on the Center to immediately remove this individual and open a safety review to consider the potential harm and damages they have inadvertently caused children,” Strong wrote.

Aderholt stated, “After constituents alerted me to the situation at Space Camp in Huntsville, my office promptly expressed my concerns directly with Space Camp officials at the Space & Rocket Center… The safety and well-being of our children and students must always be put first before any other considerations.”

There are no allegations of misconduct by the employee, who has been accused of nothing but being transgender. But Yarbrough and other anti-trans activists have reportedly been scouring the individual’s social media profiles for anything they may deem scandalous, according to

Right-wing hate influencer Chaya Raichik, who goes by the social media handle Libs of TikTok, also cast a spotlight on the Space Camp and trans employee. Reports have found that Raichik’s social media posts targeting LGBTQ+-inclusive institutions regularly inspire bomb threats.

In an official statement responding to the outcry, the Space Camp said, “We would like to assure parents, teachers, and the public that the safety and security of Space Camp students is our number one priority. Any allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously. We are working to determine the facts in this case, after which we will take appropriate action.”

The camp further emphasized the rigorous background check process that each employee goes through: “Our camp staff undergo extensive nationwide criminal background checks that include state, county, and municipal court-level information, Department of Corrections data, state sex offender registries from across the country, and multi-panel drug tests. ” 

It also emphasized the rules in place for employees, including no physical contact with children beyond a high five or fist bump, no sharing of personal details between employees and children, and no staff being allowed alone with a child. Staff also sleep in separate rooms, and the facility is under 24-hour surveillance.

The Alabama Transgender Rights Action Coalition issued a statement saying, “It is clear that the goal of these social media posts is to pressure the Space and Rocket Center to fire the employee in question simply for being transgender.”

The group further emphasized, “Legally, employers may not discriminate based on transgender status because of the majority Supreme Court opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County — an opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Trump.”

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