Metro Weekly

Alabama Republicans Want Trans Space Camp Employee Fired

After the father of an 11-year-old girl complains, Alabama Congressmen demand the firing of a Space Camp transgender employee.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama – Photo: Robhainer, via Dreamstime

Several Alabama Republicans have demanded the termination of a transgender employee at Space Camp, arguing that their presence poses a danger to participating students.

Space Camp, an educational program on the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum in Huntsville, Alabama, provides residential and educational programs for youth on topics such as space exploration, aviation, and robotics.

The center hosts approximately 26,000 youth annually, with specific programs for different age groups.

One of those programs, “Space Camp,” primarily serves children aged 9 to 11. It seeks to balance educational, classroom-style learning with hands-on activities and entertainment offerings.

Clay Yarbrough, the father of an 11-year-old girl from Huntsville, said he was disturbed to learn that one of the employees of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, who serves as a counselor for Space Camp, was transgender and would be allowed to have access to female-designated space, including the dorms where students sleep.

“I heard that one little girl had called her parents and said this guy is in the [dorm] room and ‘I don’t feel comfortable,'” Yarbrough, whose 11-year-old daughter was scheduled to attend Space Camp, told

Writing in a Facebook post, Yarbrough called the transgender female employee — whom he referred to with male pronouns — a “freak.”

“This freak is a team lead and a hall monitor in the girls’ dorms and at times could be allowed to be alone in the halls at night,” Yarbrough wrote. “Also, this is not hearsay I spoke directly to the VP/Director of Space Camp, and she confirmed this was true.”

Yarbrough included screenshots of allegedly “vile things” that the employee had posted on social media, including a graphic image from a book cover that depicts a sinister-looking monster with a black face mask, drenched in blood, with swords in its hands.

The book cover is part of an ongoing comic book series entitled Something is Killing the Children, in which a female heroine is called upon to seek out and slay supernatural monsters terrorizing a local town, which Yarbrough claims was in the employee’s Amazon “wish list.”

Yarbrough followed that up with screenshots of posts on X that he claimed the employee had written or retweeted.

Among the potentially objectionable content were musings about their gender dysphoria, their physical anatomy, and pursuing gender confirmation surgery; fantasy scenarios involving being beaten by a woman; and claims of being a lesbian. 

Other posts Yarbrough found objectionable were a photo of a pro-LGBTQ sticker on a notebook that might be seen by children attending Space Camp, and a photo of the employee receiving an “engagement” sword from their partner to be used for LARPing, or “live-action role-playing,” a character-driven type of gameplay.

Another retweeted post includes an image with various gender symbols reading, “The first rule of gender is to have fun.”

The right-wing account Libs of TikTok also highlighted some of the employee’s objectionable posts, prompting several elected Alabama Republicans to issue statements demanding the employee’s termination, reports Fox News.

“It is imperative that Space Camp remains a safe place for children and young people,” U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville said in a statement. “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.”


U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, who represents the district that includes Huntsville, released a statement implying that the employee had harmed children merely by being in proximity to them. 

“The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has long been a champion in promoting a science-based education in North Alabama. As an educational institution for our nation’s children, it is critical that it put their safety and wellbeing first,” he wrote. “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.”

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt noted that while the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is not located in his district, many of his constituents send their children to Space Camp programs each year, and claimed to have “expressed [his] concerns directly with Space Camp officials.”

“Parents want to know that when they entrust their children to others, whether it be with adults at a camp, a daycare, or a school, that they will be well looked after and not put into situations that could potentially put them in danger,” Aderholt said in his statement. “The safety and wellbeing of our children and students must always be put first before any other considerations.”


U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer called the situation “unacceptable.”

“When parents send their kids to Space Camp in Alabama, they should be confident they are going to a safe, educational environment,” Palmer wrote on X. “Space Camp should have the safety of our children as their first priority.”

None of the members of Congress appear to have alleged any specific wrongdoing by the Space Camp employee.

In response, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center released its own statement seeking to respond to the negative publicity it had received.

“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 center said in a statement.

Space Camp staff undergo nationwide criminal background checks — including searches of court records, Department of Corrections data, and state sex offender registries from across the country — and undergo multi-panel drug tests before being hired to work with children. 

“Additionally, staff sleep in separate rooms from students and use separate bathroom facilities,” the center wrote in its statement. “We also provide 24-hour onsite security, including round-the-clock video surveillance, regular foot and vehicle patrols, and controlled campus and building access.

“We are an apolitical organization with no social agenda. Our singular mission is to inspire and educate.”

Under Space Camp regulations, physical contact between staff and students is prohibited, and no staff member is allowed to be alone with a student behind a closed door. Employees are also prohibited from sharing personal details, personal phone numbers, email addresses, or social media information, or sharing their personal beliefs or views on religion, sexual topics, politics, or other potentially controversial matters.

The Space & Rocket Center also claims it does not discriminate against members of protected classes — which, under some interpretations of law, could include transgender individuals — when hiring.

As the complaining parent, Yarbrough told that he had called Space Camp on Friday and asked questions of Vice President Robin Soprano, who he accused of “dodging” questions about whether transgender employees were allowed in dorms that don’t match their assigned sex at birth.

He said he was shocked by the “garbage” on the employee’s social media accounts, and accused Space Camp of failing to sufficiently vet its employees. As a result, he will no longer permit his daughter to attend the camp, based on his belief that it is wrong to allow a person assigned male at birth to share spaces with female minors.

“I don’t hate these people, man,” he told “I just don’t think this is any place for it. I just think it’s totally out of line.”

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