Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of our most
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: I can not afford a delay in my medical certificate issuance, how can I speed up the process?
A: The first thing to do is make sure you have all of your supporting documentation completed prior to disclosing to the FAA, this will reduce delays. However, even if all of your paperwork is in order, the FAA still may take their time processing your medical.
The first and best way to speed up the process is to contact your Senator or Congressman prior to disclosure, and have them on your side before beginning the process. A Senatorial or Congressional Inquiry is the best way to have your medical processed quickly, and at no out of pocket cost to you.
If for some reason your Congressman or Senators will not assist you, or if they have been unsuccessful, the next best option is to contact AMAS (Aviation Medicine Advisory Service). It costs about $100 for a consultation, and rates starting at $1000 to take on your case. If you are apart of certain aviation unions (such as ALPA), they may contract AMAS for medical assistance and you pay nothing. They are very good at getting pilot medicals taken care of, for any medical obstacle. They are also very good at resolving cases quickly.
Another option is to contact the NCTE (National Center for Transgender Equality). They have contacts within the FAA, and are able to make inquiries into pilot cases to speed up the process. As they are always extremely busy fighting for our equality, it may take them a while to process your request for assistance, just be patient with them!
If you believe you have been discriminated against during the medical process and have a strong case for discrimination, the Transgender Law Center (TLC) may be of assistance to you. They will typically only assist if there is a strong case for discrimination because they work to help our entire community, and can only take on a limited number of cases.
Q: I currently hold a medical certificate and I would like to begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Do I need to wait until after I disclose my Gender Dysphoria diagnosis to the FAA, or can I self ground under the provisions in FAR 61.53 and disclose at my next medical?
A: This is certainly one of the trickier questions we receive. The only way to 100% guarantee you will be in compliance with FARs is to disclose to the FAA before taking HRT, and notify them that you will be starting HRT medications in the near future.
However, the vagueness of FAR 61.53 is often interpreted to permit pilots to “self ground” for an indeterminate amount of time (its up to the pilot) when beginning HRT. Once the pilot has “self determined” that the medication is safe for their use, they may resume their flight privileges, and disclose HRT usage at their next required medical examination. FAR 61.53 has been exercised in this way in the past, with no negative response from the FAA (that we know of). The problem with FAR 61.53 is that the FAA can choose to contest your individual interpretation of the FAR, and say you were not in compliance. If this were to happen, you could possibly loose your medical permanently if you don’t have an advocate or aviation lawyer on your side.
FAR 61.53 is exercised in this manner by many pilots for various medications, covering an array of different medical conditions. Most pilots who follow FAR 61.53 do not run into any issues with the FAA. The risks are minimal, but they do exist.
Q: I have been taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and did not disclose it on my previous medical. If I decide to disclose HRT usage to the FAA will I loose my medical certificate? Is there anyone who can help me disclose to reduce the risk of losing my medical?
A: If you have been on hormone replacement therapy, and did not disclose this at any of your previous medical examinations, even if you have been using it safely for over 5 years, this can be grounds for termination of your medical certificate. In this circumstance we recommend contacting aviation legal counsel, they may be able to remedy the situation for you through legal channels.
Q: I am a new pilot, and have not received a medical certificate yet. I have also been on hormone replacement therapy for more than five years and/or I had gender reassignment surgery over five years ago. Do I have to go through the special issuance process, or do the new regulations allow me to receive my medical on the spot from my AME?
A: As long as you show no evidence of having a mental health diagnosis (other than Gender Dysphoria), and are doing well on your current treatment, and have no other health concerns, your AME is permitted to issue your medical certificate at the time of your examination according to the new regulations.
by TGPA Admin