Astronaut Training

1 02 2009

I know, it is an odd title… read to the end of the article and it will make more sense.

Nasa

Nasa

You can ‘test’ a person for almost anything, right? You can run a psychological profile on a person and still never really understand them. You can prepare humans for nearly any situation – yet 1/3 of all people who attend a first aid course are unable to use the skills taught to them at the time they need those skills. All those people passed the first aid class; they passed the tests and were observed by trained individuals.

There is no real testing that can prepare a transitioning person. I know, there is a protocol for testing that will free most Doctors of ‘liability’. There is also the element of the ‘year long test’ as well as counseling.

Here is some reality:

I know a friend, M2F, who started living full time as a women in July. By August, a doctor had already agreed to sign the papers needed to put the “F” on the drivers license. She then attended some monthly therapy. By the next spring, a mere 6 months later, she had made arrangements for a vaginoplasty. After 60 years of life and thirty seven years of marriage and less than one year of living publicly as a women, she received her operation. With less than 50 hours of therapy and support, she was now in her life. Her wife of 30+ years went through all the transition (and also met with counsellors – and ‘passed’). They separated.

I met another person, F2M, who was in a group. He was good looking and full on passable, with obvious hormone treatments that allowed a nice mustache and male body. The most interesting thing was where he had learned to “be a male”. He had followed in the path of another supportive friend. He had learned best (and acknowledged this) to mimic male behavior from a Dyke. Although the dyke was transitioning, they were clearly in all mannerism, still a dyke. This was made most obvious in the aggressive (self proclaimed “dickish” behavior) and the walk with full shoulderswing. The result was a short fellow who walks like a body builder and has the mannerisms and talk of an angry Lesbian.

The transgender suicide rate is one of the highest incidents of any social group in America.

So what about Astronaut Training then?

To prepare a person to go into space takes thousands of hours of training. Most career astronauts have spent time with the air force before NASA. The level of training and testing is second to none. Astronauts are subjected to the highest mental and physical stresses a person can take.

So, no transgendered person is really as ready as they should be. You can never really know if, during all their training and testing, will they be able to survive in what is an irreversible situation by most measures.

Trained Astronaut and Naval Officer drives 900 miles in a diaper to kidnap and assault a women dating a man that she had wanted. The headlines are impossible to believe at the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Nowak

Met Lisa Nowak. A beautiful women who could have nearly any man she desired. Nowak was a respected Naval Officer. She was selected by NASA in 1996 and qualified as a mission specialist in robotics.Nowak flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during mission STS-121 in July 2006. Nowak gained international attention on February 5, 2007, when she was arrested in Orlando, Florida, and subsequently charged with the attempted kidnapping of U.S. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of astronaut William Oefelein.

on February 4–5, 2007. She had packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound hammer drill, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, about US$585 in cash, her computer, an eight-inch (203 mm) Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,450 km) to Florida. 

Lisa Nowak was tested for character behavior, mental stability, standards, morals – tested and challenged both physically and mentally in ways few people are subjected to. She was trained to survive a crash landing, survive being in a hostile enviorment, survive in space. And still, she did the unthinkable – and – unpredictable. What really went through her mind is known only to her. Lisa started a journey of nearly 1000 miles, had plenty of time to reconsider, gather her wits – yet, she carried out what she had planned until it went wrong (what was she going to do with the hammer drill?) – and without a doubt, she knew it was wrong, crazy and emotionally disturbed all the time she planned it and them drove towards that terminal destination.

So in the transgender person, you receive less training and practice than a welder, EMT, peace corp, missionaries, fireman, social worker, daycare worker… the list goes on. I hope that my point is made. When crossing the gender barrier, a person needs to be trained and tested as they would to live in a foreign country will all new customs.

The real point is this:

  • There is not enough cross testing and training – it needs to be done with more than a single couple of doctors doing 1 hour of observation a week / month (You could ‘fake’ anything to get what you thought you wanted for an hour – right?).
  • Preparation needs to be in socially varied groups, not socially isolated groups. To find sole security in approving groups is not a real world test.
  • There needs to be followup.

Honestly, what is needed by everybody making a transition is a few mentors who have made the journey successfully and quite a few people who can offer supportive, yet accurate direction for the person. This journey is often done with too few people and too much emphasis on the “end goal” – which is not a final goal, but the landing on an alien planet without the support you were used to here on earth. Ultimately, many TG’s make the transition, but they are never really prepared to land on that foreign soil.

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2 responses

22 08 2009
Gendertransitioning, Changes and Children « Sarah’s Journey Weblog

[…] (and that is the dream of many). If you think that you are prepared here for all the changes, read Astronaut Training first. Missing the Right […]

22 08 2009
thespiralstaircase

I just read the post at Sarah’s Journey referenced above and this post is an interesting read as well. I think that truly knowing ourselves or anyone else is really a lot of work. If you don’t do the work, well – you end up in a situation where someone is faking or bullshitting themselves and others to an outlandish degree. The fallout is disastrous at one end and laughable at the other.

I truly feel sorry for people who don’t or never have taken, the time to know themselves intimately. It is the intimacy with our self that brings us to identify with who we are. How can others make the effort to identify with us as we truly are, if we have not bothered to truly make that effort ourselves?

‘Passing’ as an astronaut or a target gender is just the calling card. You have to go into the fire to really make the sale. Belief is a balance – if you throw a lot of weight on the facade side, and you haven’t done the inner work, it shows.

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those we cannot resemble. Samuel Johnson

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