WFR Complete, and a few thoughts on heteronormativity...

70 hours later and I am a WFR!  I had a great time at my class and learned a ton.  I hope I never have to use most of what I learned but I feel good knowing that if any of our participants get injured while on course, I'll know how to help them.  

One thing that did come up for me was how hetero and gender normative the WFR curriculum was.  In so many ways wilderness education and medical training are a bastion of heteronormativity.  To be sure, the people I was with were great - inclusive, affirming, curious and interested in learning, but also so  far away from the queer community.  WFR training is very hands on - I can't tell you how many times I had my chest patted down when a classmate was doing a bloodsweep or checking me for injury.  Every time it happened I thought about how my classmates were so seemingly comfortable in their bodies and contrasted that to how a trans person wearing a binder might feel, how a transwoman might panic when her classmate looked for her Adam's Apple as a way to find a pulse, how a genderqueer person might feel while constantly being mispronouned,  or how a queer person might fear what their classmates are thinking as they poked and prodded their bodies in the name of medicine.  

I'm glad I founded The Venture Out Project.  I am honored to provide a safe space for my queer siblings to experience the beauty of nature.  I want to share this with you.  And, at the same time, I want to share our community and our concerns with my WFR classmates and the outdoor community at large.  I hope that in some small way, the way I tried to queer the class gave them pause, makes them more aware that we are everywhere, and that the wilderness is a place for all of us.  

Posted on January 15, 2015 and filed under Safety, Training, Gender, Sexuality.