Cameron Bess, a popular American Twitch streamer, has become the first pansexual person to journey into suborbital space.
On Saturday (11 December) Bess, the son of millionaire venture investor Lane Bess, was aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard (NS-19) mission.
The social media star was part of six other passengers including his father, Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan, Voyager Space chairman Dylan Taylor, investment banker Evan Dick, and Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of Alan Shepard who was the first American to go into space in the 1960s.
Ahead of the flight, Bess, who streams online under the Twitch username MeepsKitten, reflected on his opportunity to go into space.
“My entire life I’ve wanted to make people who feel like they didn’t have a place feel welcome,” he told Xtra.
Yesterday, Bess took to social media to share gratitude for becoming the first pansexual person to travel into space and acknowledged the importance of LGBTQ+ representation across all industries.
“I also just want to take a moment once again to express how honored I am. People tell me I’m the youngest American and the first openly queer person in space or first furry, but that was never the goal for me. I’m just so so honored to be that vector of visibility,” he posted on Twitter.
Bess continued: “Visibility in history is super important to normalization and I never expected it to be me to make it happen, but I’m truly humbled to hear it meant lots to many people out there. I could have stayed silent and avoided all the negativity and I’m glad I didn’t.”
The streamer took a pansexual flag and a paw to represent the “furry” community – a term used to classify a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters.
— MeepsKitten (Cameron Bess) (@MeepsKitten) December 7, 2021
A Twitter user followed up on Bess’ tweet to point out the legacy of American astronaut Sally Ride who was known as a prolific physicist and the first woman to travel to space. Ride was not known to be LGBTQ+ in her lifetime, but, later, came out in her obituary.
Bess acknowledged his personal LGBTQ+ milestone and paid his respects to the legacy Ride left behind. “Key word people have been using is “openly” Sally Ride came out in her obituary,” he tweeted.
“At the time there was fear of not being able to be an astronaut if you weren’t straight because it could detract from the mission, so she couldn’t come out until her death. Pretty messed up.”
American astronaut, Sally Ride was a trailblazing scientific figure mostly commonly known as becoming the first American woman in space. Now, the legacy of the prolific physicist will be honoured as she appears on a quarter.
Ride’s sexuality was not commonly known until her death. Her obituary revealed she was survived by her female partner of 27 years Tam O’Shaughnessy, a psychology professor at San Diego State University. Ride died of pancreatic cancer, aged 61, in 2012.
According to US Mint, Ride and O’Shaughnessy were dedicated to narrowing the gender gap in science and engineering careers.
Together, they started an education company to inspire young people, especially girls, in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In 2001, they joined like-minded friends with expertise in physics, administration, and technology to found Sally Ride Science.
Ride was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013.