Planting Peace Sent An LGBTQ Pride Flag Into Space & Its Message Is Just As Heartwarming As You Think
Parts of Earth may still be on the fence about the LGBTQ community, but space is officially cool with its not-so-heterosexual residents. At least, that's the message intended by nonprofit organization Planting Peace, who sent a pride flag into space recently to declare space LGBTQ-friendly. On Aug. 17, the flag was launched using a high-altitude balloon — with an attached GoPro to document the flag's voyage, naturally — outside of Milwaukee, Wis. At the peak of its three-hour journey, the pride flag floated 21.1 miles above the planet's surface before drifting back down to join us Earthlings once more.
On its website, the organization explains the meaning behind the launch. "The primary purpose of this declaration is to support the ongoing fight for the fundamental human rights of our LGBTQ family, moving us closer to a universal understanding that all people deserve to live freely and love freely without fear and discrimination," Planting Peace writes, and things only get more heartwarming from there.
"It was an honor to send the first pride flag into space, and it provided a wonderful opportunity to show that Planting Peace will not stop fighting for LGBTQ rights until all sexual and gender minorities experience full, fundamental rights in every corner of the universe,” said the nonprofit's president, Aaron Jackson, in a statement emailed to Bustle. “The backdrop of space gave us a stunning, inspiring and peaceful canvas for our message of hope to our LGBTQ family. I would love for LGBTQ children who are struggling to see this, and look up to the stars and remember that the universe shines brightly for them, and they are not alone."
The footage from the flag's high-altitude journey was condensed into a short video posted online at the end of September.
It must be said: By symbolically declaring the universe LGBTQ-friendly, Planting Peace has turned space into a safe... space. (Sorry not sorry.)
In addition to its support of LGBTQ people, Planting Peace focuses on deworming children, environmental conservation, and an international network of orphanages. However, the organization is most famous for its clever, public displays of LGBTQ solidarity. In 2014, it bought the house directly across from the Westboro Baptist Church, painted it the colors of the rainbow, and named it the Equality House, which serves as an LGBTQ resource. Earlier this year, Planting Peace crowdfunded the creation of a permanent Transgender Pride house as well, and it's taken a public stand against North Carolina's House Bill 2, also known as the "bathroom bill" that sparked a national debate about transgender rights.
In spring, Planting Peace declared Antarctica the first LGBTQ-friendly continent (complete with some seriously adorable photos of penguins chilling out with a pride flag), so perhaps space was the logical next step. It's symbolic, of course, but between Planting Peace's declaration and the reveal that Sulu is married to a man in Star Trek Beyond, space is turning into a better place to be LGBTQ than parts of Earth. Looks like it's our move now.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Planting Peace.