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Newtown High School Student Proposes One Giant Leap For LGBTQ Inclusivity In STEM



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Students are often told to “shoot for the moon” when it comes to their dreams — but by the nature of an expression, it’s rare that one takes it literally…

Unless they are aspiring to a future in STEM.

Beatrice Cardamone is a sophomore at Newtown High School, active in her Applied Science Research class, and co-president of the NHS gender and sexuality alliance. In October 2022, she founded a petition for NASA to place a pride flag on the moon in their 2025 Artemis III mission. At the time this article was written, it had 356 signatures.

“It started off as a joking idea,” said Beatrice. “I was just reading about the Artemis mission, and I was like, ‘hey, wouldn’t it be great if someone put a pride flag on the moon?’”

She said the more she thought about it, the more it seemed important, but when she looked online, no one seemed to be advocating for putting a pride flag on the moon.

Beatrice described it as “a cliché moment” when she realized if she didn’t do it, no one else would.

“That was almost exactly when I said to myself, ‘Alright, I guess I’m doing this,’” said Beatrice.

‘Infinite Opportunity’

In her petition on Change.org, Beatrice cites an excerpt from the NASA mission statement, which says it hopes to “inspire a new generation and encourage careers in STEM.” She wrote that her motion to put a pride flag on the moon “would clearly communicate to queer youths that this firmly includes them.”

“Science is all very closed, and it can be discouraging to me and to other people to see the lack of representation,” Beatrice recently told The Newtown Bee, elaborating on how the motion would support NASA’s mission.

She said her hope is to show queer youth they have “infinite opportunity in space and in STEM,” and added a demographic observation from her time studying science: that STEM has been “a historically cisgender, heterosexual, male-dominated field,” where there are few women, queer people, and people of color.

“I want to change that,” said Beatrice. “Especially as someone who wants to go into STEM, I would like it to be more accessible to everyone.”

‘A Beacon Of Light’

The flag Beatrice said she would like to see in space is known as the Progress Pride Flag, a revision of the original Gilbert Baker flag that came to represent the gay rights movement. The Progress Pride Flag incorporates the colors of the transgender pride flag as well as black and brown stripes to represent people of color.

According to Daniel Quasar, the maker of the flag, the black stripe has a second meaning to represent those living with AIDs as well as those lost to the disease. The arrow shape, according to Quasar, points forward to show progress (toward inclusivity) that needs to be made.

Beatrice said she would like the flag to be “a beacon of light amidst the scourge of hate and bigotry in our country and our world.”

“This has been one of the worst years as far as trans legislation in history,” said Beatrice. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to be inclusive and to not only fight hate but to make it so it doesn’t have any room to expand.”

Beatrice identifies as a lesbian transgirl. She said her experience as a young person in STEM inspired her to want to see more people like her in the field.

According to Beatrice, there are small organizations trying to advocate for inclusivity, but the movement is not as big as it should be. She said her proposal would be very impactful, as NASA is one of the leading STEM organizations.

After reaching out to area GSAs with news of her petition, Beatrice was invited to present at the Valley Pride Conference on April 28 and had the opportunity to spread the word.


Beatrice is a student navigating between the worlds of Moon and Earth, and her interests of activism and STEM. She said she sees the petition as meshing her interests together.

In her high school career as a student, Beatrice participates in the self-directed, Applied Science Research class, which allows her to pursue her own scientific research interest in neurodegenerative diseases and contribute to STEM.

“My focus is on a certain type that has no treatment or cure,” said Beatrice, identifying the subject of her research as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which she hopes to study in higher education, as well.

“We have no idea how they work, and we have a lot of information scattered about that people have done studies on,” said Beatrice. “What I’m trying to do is bring it together to form a more cohesive picture.”

Beatrice’s petition, called “Let’s Put a Pride Flag on the Moon!” can be found at change.org/p/let-s-put-a-pride-flag-on-the-moon, or accessed by holding your phone camera over the QR code included with this article.


Reporter Noelle Veillette can be reached at noelle@thebee.com.

Beatrice Cardamone —Bee Photo, Veillette
Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. headshrinker says:

    that STEM has been “a historically cisgender, heterosexual, male-dominated field,” where there are few women, queer people, and people of color.

    Cis is a slur. Queer is also a slur. What is wrong with you people?! If you want to get people involved in science, great, but don’t do it by pinkwashing everything.

    1. nb.john.voket says:

      If you read the story – you will note that these comments and references come from the story subject, and they are not being used as slur or in a provoking manner.

      1. headshrinker says:

        I understand you, as the editor, think it’s ok to use these words. It’s not.

        These words were and are used to malign and demean people for being who they were/are.

        They were used as hate and during literal violence. Many men were murdered while these words were the last things they heard.

        Just because the kids are doing it, does not make it ok. I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

        1. nb.john.voket says:

          Reiterating – these are words from the subject. We did not make them up or put those words in the subject’s mouth. Your issue is with the words the story subject is using — you are misdirecting your ire at the messenger.

    2. tim06470 says:

      “Cis-” is not a slur. It is literally the opposite of “trans”
      “Queer” has been and can be used as a slur, but that is a matter of context. The LGBTQ community has reclaimed the word and it is often used in a non-judgmental context as an all-inclusive term for members of the LGBTQ community. The “Q” in the acronym actually refers to “queer”.

      1. nb.john.voket says:

        Thank you for weighing in, Tim. Our other sources we contacted for clarity also agree.

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