Sky High: FAA Clears Transgender Pilots For Takeoff

It’s hard to believe, but trans pilots have to undergo extensive psychiatric testing before they can get their wings. At least they did, until Congressmen Mike Honda and Barney Frank and the Transgender Law Center (TLC) stepped in to help top gun Tamsyn Waterhouse.

Waterhouse, who grew up flying with her father in his small plane, resented being subject to the “expensive and burdonsome” testing required to renew her medical certification before flying again. Testing cisgender pilots weren’t subjected to.

“It would have cost thousands of dollars. One psychiatrist described it as ‘every test in the book,'” says Waterhouse. “I could have paid the money and tried to go through the process on my own. But I wanted to make a difference for all transgender pilots.”
With nudging from the TLC, the FAA has announced it’s removing the disparate testing requirement for transgender pilots.

“Tamsyn had the courage to stand up and advocate for herself and other transgender pilots. Her willingness to share her story illustrates the power one person can have in making a difference,” said TLC director Masen Davis.