Transgender Women Pilots? -Previous names on background checks

Hello Aviation community! I’m fairly new to this site so I hope I’m doing this correctly. So, basically I’m a girl recently just graduated high school with a dream. I’ve known I wanted to be a pilot since I was really young. The only problem is, I was born in the wrong body. Long story short, I am a transgender girl. I want to enter flight school, probably get an aviation degree 1st. And my parents are fully willing to help support and fund my ambitions for schooling. However, thinking long term, when one is applying to a major U.S airline (Which is my eventual goal), I have read there is extensive background checks?? I have no criminal record, never even had a speeding ticket. That isn’t my concern. My concern is I’ve had a few different legal names because of my situation. After graduation I felt like leaving my old community and all the toxic, hateful people in it behind and start fresh with a new identity where im just known as a female. Nothing more. Which was perfect because we were moving to a new town anyways. So if/when years & years from now I become a candidate to potentially be an employee for an airline. Should I declare my whole situation to my employer about my previous names and transgender status upfront?. Would I declare right in the interview or?? what? Do transgender pilots need any special medical approval?? I read online that the FAA has made it significantly easier for trans pilots to be treated fairly in the certification process. I just get nervous. Will the airlines out me to co-workers, exc if I reveal my ''secret". Are certain airlines more supportive than others?? Besides my parents, none of my close friends, anybody close to me knows I was born trans. And I’d like to keep it that way if I could. Even if a couple employers knew. I really wouldn’t want it to be ‘‘publicly known’’ that im a transgender female. If its any consolation, I’ve had gender reassignment surgery. All my documents say female. Including passport, drivers license, exc. And I don’t plan on ever having another name, also I pass 100% as a female, as I came out fairly young (at like 13) and began medical treatment. Nobody would ever ‘‘know I was born different’’ unless I told them personally. I really just wanna soar to the skies like any other female pilot. Are the airlines open to hiring trans female pilots ?? I really could do the job just as well as any other pilot and I don’t see why it has to be such a big deal. Do you think being transgender would diminish my chances??
Any feedback is appreciated

Amy,

Welcome!

Here are some links I think you’ll find to be encouraging:

https://www.ngpa.org/transgender

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/app_process/exam_tech/item48/amd/gd/

https://abcnews.go.com/US/faa-makes-easier-transgender-pilots-certified/story?id=36616113

Short answer is yes. It is possible. When it’s time for you to schedule your appointment with your Aviation Medical Examiner (list found on FAA’s website) the AME will walk you through the process. Your application will most likely be deferred to the FAA for further review, but it looks pretty straight forward. The link above about “Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners” explains what documents you’ll need to gather.

As long as you can hold a First Class Medical, an ATP rating, and have a clean record you shouldn’t have any issues with the background checks at the airlines. Every airline abides by Equal Employment Opportunity laws. You don’t have to disclose anything unless you want to. The FAA will already have all of your medical history.

Tory

Amy,

While I appreciate you’ve probably encountered some adversity in your life I’m reading your post and I’m scratching my head a little? You say things like “will the airlines out me?”, “Would I declare right in the interview?”, “are the airlines open to hiring trans female?” and honestly my favorite “I really could do the job as well as any other pilot and don’t see why it has to be such a big deal?”.

Trust me I’m no authority on the subject and I too recommend you speak with the NGPA but it really sounds to me like you’re the one making this a big deal. I’ve participated in hiring at both the airlines I’ve worked for and can honestly say the subject has never come up and I only found out afterward that we had hired someone trans (how I found out was they told me themselves and thanked me. Frankly again I scratched my head). The FAA has no problem issuing you a medical and as long as none of your former names has a criminal record attached to it the airline won’t care either. Again I’m certain this may have caused you some issues or stress in your life I couldn’t possibly understand but that was then and you really should try not to project that will ALWAYS be the situation going forward. Airlines hire skilled competent pilots who’ll get along and work well with their coworkers. They don’t want to out you. They want to train you and have a good safe employee. What they don’t want is people with huge chips on their shoulders.

Now let’s talk about your statement “I really could do the job just as well as any other pilot”. You know this how? Do you have any flight experience? Again this has ZERO to do with you being a man, woman, trans, cis or anything else. It has to do with the fact that not everyone can or should be an airline pilot and this is the exact same thing I say to every person who comes on here saying “they know”! The fact is you don’t which leads me to my point. Start thinking about the best route to becoming a successful pilot rather than all that other stuff. First take an intro flight and find out if flying is really something you enjoy and might(?) be good at and then find the best flight school (which probably isn’t an overpriced aviation university) and get trained, build your time and get hired.

The fact is the compared to the rigors of flight training I think you’ll find the whole transgender aspect was the easy part of the process.

Adam

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