Bil Browning

First transgender astronaut?

Filed By Bil Browning | September 28, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Amy Weston, NASA, transgender astronaut

Check out this video interview by frequent Bilerico guest blogger and The New Gay founder Zack Rosen with Amy Weston, a NASA employee who stands a good chance of becoming America's first transgender astronaut.

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Best wishes to Amy and Genesis! I hope you both reach your goals! Thanks for sharing some of the process with us. What is the goal of the coldness project?

At this point in our mission, the cryogenics work is for detector testing. Later, when the mission flies, I'll be the one running the refrigeration equipment to keep the real detectors at the optimal temparature (about 0.1 K).

The two missions I'm part of right now are looking for evidence of gravity waves to prove inflation theory--we want to find out what happened immediately following the Big Bang. Along the way, we hope to prove quantum gravity and grand unification theory. Not bad.

Not quite. Dr. Christine McGinn was a medical doctor trained as an astronaut (pre-transitioned) in the 1990s and would have gone into space in a medical emergency, and was also a flight surgeon for NASA. She is now one of the country's premier SRS surgeon, in Philly.

Now, if this person actually goes into space, or gets trained while being an openly trans person, that would be different. But, she won't the first trans person to have gotten training as an astronaut.

Yes, and I have an immense amount of respect for Dr. McGinn. Also for the stealth and closeted trans people who may have gone to space in the past.

As I say in the interview, I may not ever become an astronaut. But I'm in the right place and I know the right people and I'm not one to give up on my dreams. I also think in ten years NASA could be looking for a queer astronaut, the number of out queer people in the agency has gotten quite large in recent years.

Well, Amy, I really, really hope you make it. I'm old enough to remember watching the Mercury launches on television, so I've seen them all. My ultimate fantasy would be to explore Mars. Maybe, I'll live long enough for you to bring me back a Martian rock. Keep us informed.

So cool, thanks for sharing!

um... more like #3 or 4... maybe 5 but only if she gets any training.
(kind of doubt it since open trans people are verbotten in the space program)

It really irks me when my trans peeps insist on being stealth. But, I have to respect thier wishes.


Remember, stealth = invisiblity = non-exsistance.

You respect their wishes...but somehow cannot refrain from starting a game of "can you find the trans person?"

Stealth does not equal non-existence. It just means you have to connect to people around you based on facets of our identities other than being transsexual.

@TT The first step of accepting a minority class is actually knowing they exist.
Playing spot the Tranz? The people who play that game simply do not read this blog.
Too many people think Trans people are rare in the work place. Even me. When I came to work in my current job, I knew one trans person there who talked me in to taking the job I was offered. Now I know there are nearly 300 in the corporation. We have protections in the work place and resources BECAUSE of visibility.

If trans people have protections at work because of visibilty as you say, then what was all the fuss about ENDA???

Because not all trans people have those protections. Only those in certain places.

Yeah, ENDA provides protections for all GLBT in all work places within the US and its territories. Place's like NASA, GSA, Logistics Defense Agency have various protections in place the same as UTC, Boeing, Lockheed Martian do.

I work at Sikorsky Aircraft Co., a division of United Technology Corporation. I’m the Co-Chair for Sikorsky Pride and yeah, we have good policies in place that allow us to be open about who we are. Our Gay and Lesbian coworkers who are married have the same benefits as hetro couples get. Transgender employees who are at that stage where they come out and transition at work get a team to assist the event. (we just had a transition at work, went smooth as can be with no issues that you normally hear of) We have medical coverage for our Trans employees. (only therapy and meds but we’re working on surgical care as well)

When you work at a company and corporation like this, yeah, it’s NICE. You don’t have to worry about a lot of things and can be OPEN if you want or stealth.

How cool is that? I hope you get to go Amy.

Go, Amy! Your courage is an inspiration. I worked on the TDRSS program, more years ago than I admit. You are going after what was not even dreamable for me then. Good luck and Godspeed.