Space contest to send LGBT+ astronaut where no queer has gone before

Sally Ride on the space shuttle Challenger

Wannabe LGBT+ astronauts are being encouraged to apply for a new contest which aims to send the first openly queer person into space.

In almost six decades of space travel more than 500 people have been into outer space—none of whom have been openly LGBT+.

The Out Astronaut Contest is aiming to change that by sending a young queer astronaut into orbit.

“We believe that communities are empowered when they are represented,” said the contest’s organisers, Stardom Space and Project PoSSUM (Polar Suboribital Science in the Upper Mesosphere).

“Our goal is to train and fly a member of the LGBT+ community as a scientist-astronaut.”

LGBT+ astronaut would serve as ambassador

The chosen astronaut would serve as “an ambassador” to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries, according to the contest website.

It states that currently, more than 40 percent of LGBT+ people in STEM are not out, with queer students less likely to follow academic careers than their straight peers.

“Astronauts inspire our youth, represent limitless possibilities, and serve as ambassadors to STEM,” Out Astronaut said.

“Astronauts inspire our youth and represent limitless possibilities.”

—Out Astronaut

The contest is in its first phase, with applications open to scientists or students aged 18- to 39-years-old who are residents of the US, Canada, Mexco, the Caribbean or Central America.

After applications close on July 15, 12 finalists will be chosen and put forward for a social media vote.

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