Adam Harry, India’s first transgender pilot was disqualified for 6 months after informing aeronautical authorities about his diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The letter he presented to the authorities, as required, is from his psychiatrist and endocrinologist. The letter emphatically states that he is both physically and mentally fit to fly.
Adam Harry, 19, got his wings while a student at Skylark Aviation Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa and returned to India after securing his pilot license. But Harry was rejected by his family when presented with his transition so he left his hometown of Thrissur for Kochi. This is where a newspaper article about him captured the heart of the nation and the attention of the state government.
Kerala officials were so impressed they sponsored at him at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Commercial Pilot Training, a course which takes three years.
But soon afterward the Indian Express reported Adam Harry received this letter from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s Medical Assessment Board claiming that he is temporarily unfit for flying. According to the letter which was received on March 18, one of the medical reasons cited was gender dysphoria, which is the conflict between a person’s gender identity and physical body.
“This is the letter from DGCA, medical board,” Harry wrote, “which says I am unfit for flying for 6 months for the reason of being a transgender and they used the term ‘Gender dysphoria ‘ as one of the reasons for barring me from flying … , now I have to go through additional procedures to get a medical, I have been going through an extensive medical process and I have submitted a letter from an endocrinologist and psychiatrist with it, which state that I am physically and mentally fit, still they denied my medical.
Being transgender myself I have learned that this is a simple medical issue that is largely misunderstood, I will fight till I get justice,” wrote Harry.
Adam Harry might not be able to fly due to the pandemic but one day he will. And be it known, this will not stand. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s Medical Assessment Board needs to evolve as well.
In his own words….