2021 - Ongoing
“When the inkblots came up, we looked at them and, sure enough, we’d always see some feminine anatomy in there to make sure that we gave the proper sexual response.” Jim Lovell, an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs, recounts one of two mandatory heterosexuality tests that early NASA astronauts were required to take.
To date, 600 people have been astronauts. None have flown into space as an openly LGBTQ+ person.
The Gay Space Agency confronts the American Space program’s historical exclusion of openly queer astronauts and asks what American heroism looks like and who might be a part of future exploration. Reckoning with this history, the project uses archival images, current images of the space program, and surreal boundary-breaking photos to reimagine a history which celebrates queerness and highlights LGBTQ+ role models.
In 1983, Sally Ride became not only the first American woman in space, but possibly the first ever out astronaut. However, this would not be known until 2012 when her obituary read, “Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy.”
Today, NASA is joined by privately owned, billionaire-backed organizations in their exploration of the final frontier. As we revisit the possibilities of human expansion and future colonization, The Gay Space Agency asks what it means to have the "right stuff."