Sam Brinton, Biden's Non-Binary Energy Appointment, Gets Praised and Trolled for their Authenticity

Thursday February 17, 2022
Originally published on February 12, 2022

Sam Brinton
Sam Brinton  (Source:Instagram)

They call themselves Radioactivenerd1 on Instagram. They received a dual Masters from MIT, worked in the clean energy movement, and has been in the forefront of numerous queer rights issues. And yesterday Politico reports "on February 11, it was announced that Sam Brinton�will be the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy."

Brinton had announced in January, The Focus writes "on�LinkedIn�and�Twitter�they had accepted an offer to serve as deputy assistant secretary of spent fuel and waste disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy —�for the Department of Energy. Yes, that job title is a bit of a mouthful."

"In this role," Brinton wrote, "I'll be doing what I always dreamed of doing, leading the effort to solve the nation's nuclear waste challenges."

The response on Twitter was largely positive:

Christina Greer tweeted: "Congrats!!! This calls for a new pair of pumps!!! So excited for you."

Douglas "Atomic Bicycle Antifascist Price" wrote: "Congratulations! That is fantastic news. DOE couldn't have found a better person for the position!"

And Rod Adams praised Brinton: "Sam - you're exactly the right person for this job. I know you've been preparing diligently for just such a position for a decade or more. Besides - we need a courageous problem solver to address one of the few remaining obstacles to rapid growth in nuclear energy's."

But as qualified as Brinton may be, they are also being trolled on social media for his openness about his sexuality. On Twitter, user Jon Miller writes: "This is the Biden's new Dept of Energy hire: gender fluid with a background in having sex with animals, 'kink,' and drag. Even in Weimar, this kind of perverted degeneracy was kept underground. One can only think what the eventual counterreaction will be."

Another user called Libs of TikTok also slammed their personal choices.

Brinton says their husband calls them "a weird kind of Batman... Because by day I work to save lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth from suicide, and by night I work to save the world from nuclear waste-related environmental disaster."

They sees a connection between their two great advocacy passions.

"I want to move the dial a little bit to leave the world in a better place by talking about a hard issue in a way that more people are able to access it," he told MIT Alumni. "The challenge of coming out as LGBT sure gives you a lot of practice for coming out for nuclear energy."

Brinton has been passionate about these issue since they were an undergraduate at Kansas State University, where they helped found the state's first LGBTQ resource center while earning earned bachelor's degrees in mechanical and nuclear engineering and vocal music performance.

"At MIT, they earned dual master's degrees through the Technology and Policy Program—one in engineering systems and the other in nuclear science and engineering. They served as president of the MIT Science Policy Initiative and cofounded two student groups—Stand with Science, which supports more federal research funding, and the National Science Policy Group, a nationwide network focusing on science and policy issues," adds MIT Alumni.

They is also a passionate advocate against conversion therapy. "Sam is an ardent activist against the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy," reads his bio on his website.

"You might not expect a nuclear engineering graduate from MIT to be strolling through the White House in stilettos, but that is part of the reason Sam does it," adds their website. "Having a chat on preconceptions is right up their alley. Whether it's on technical topics or social issues like supporting LGBT survivors of conversion therapy, Sam is always willing to have the tough conversations with an open mind."