The FAA has released new medical certification procedures for trans pilots, eliminating unnecessary psychological testing that had previously been required. Going forward, medical certification for transgender pilots will require only submitting current clinical records together with an evaluation from a psychiatrist or psychologist, as well as a report on any surgery (if applicable). The new requirements are listed in a new section of the agency’s Aviation Medical Examiner Guide, which can be found here.
The FAA requires that all pilots receive medical and psychological clearance to fly, and these procedures can be quite demanding. However, in recent years many transgender pilots had been required to undergo an expensive, burdensome and unnecessary battery of psychological tests including personality, projective and intelligence tests and others. Many transgender pilots were grounded due to such requirements and some even lost their jobs. While the FAA is understandably wary of any potential safety risk, requiring all these tests just because a person is transgender simply didn’t make medical sense.
The National Center for Transgender Equality would like to thank Drs. George Brown and Randall Ehrbar for their expertise as well as the FAA, the Obama Administration, the Transgender Law Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Representatives Mike Honda and Barney Frank for their work on this issue. NCTE will continue to monitor this issue to ensure the new procedures are implemented in a fair and sensible way.