News (USA)

FAA eliminates unnecessary psychological testing for transgender pilots

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration has released new medical certification procedures for transgender 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), according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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 credited Drs. George Brown and Randall Ehrbar for their expertise on the issue, the Transgender Law Center, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and U.S. Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) for their work with the FAA on the new procedures

The new requirements are listed in a new section of the agency’s Aviation Medical Examiner Guide, which can be found here.

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