India's aviation regulatory body to allow transgender pilots to fly the planes
Taking a welcome step toward inclusivity and breaking the glass ceiling, India's civil aviation regulatory body Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, for the first time, issued medical guidelines that will allow transgenders and non-binary individuals to fly aeroplanes in the country.
Reportedly, DGCA in its circular stated that transgender candidates who have completed their hormone therapy for transition or have gone under the knife more than five years ago will be able to fly the planes, after clearing mental health screening tests.
The mental health tests will be based on the blueprint laid out by World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
“Those transgender applicants who have been taking hormone therapy or had a gender reassignment surgery within the last five years will be screened for their mental health status,” read the circular.
As for those individuals that have completed their treatment within the last five years, they will have to undergo not only psychological and psychiatric evaluations but also submit a detailed evaluation from their endocrinologist as well as surgeon about any surgery that might have taken place in the last year.
If the candidate manages to tick every single box in the evaluation, then only they will be declared fit and allowed to sit in the cockpits.
Furthermore, those on life-long hormone therapy will only be admitted if they can prove that they have reached a stable dose.
Meanwhile, the novices who have started the therapy or gone under the knife only recently will be deemed medically 'unfit' and will have to wait for a period of three months to seek another attempt.
“If the applicant is on hormone replacement therapy (as applicable), as with any medication, on commencement of hormone therapy or any change in the drug or adjustment of its dose, the applicant will be declared medically ‘unfit’ for at least three months,”
According to DGCA, the medical guidelines are applicable for all categories of pilot's license viz. private pilot’s license, student’s pilot license and commercial pilot license.
However, a caveat of transgender persons being allowed to only fly as first officers has been added. In case a transgender pilot is the pilot-in-command, their co-pilot ought to have 250 hours of experience on that machine.
As reported by WION, India's first transgender pilot, 23-year-old Adam Harry was earlier declared unfit for flying an aircraft by the DGCA. It was Adam's efforts that led DGCA to bring about a sea of changes in its policy.