Published: 23rd March 2020
India's first transman pilot, Adam Harry, denied medical certificate citing 'gender dysphoria'
On March 18, Adam Harry was sent a letter by the DGCA that bars him from flying for the next 6 months due to medical reasons
Adam Harry, who shot to fame as India’s first transman pilot, has received a 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.
Adam has been pronounced unfit for the next 6 months pending a fresh medical appointment that clears him. He says, “What they are trying to state here is that gender dysphoria is an illness. I had to go through countless painful procedures to get a medical certificate in the first place. As they had asked, I had handed in letters from my psychiatrist and endocrinologist to prove my physical fitness.”
He continues, "As I am a transgender individual, I have quite a difficult time obtaining my medical certificates and tests. There are lot of misconceptions and generalisations that the doctors and medical authority of DGCA function on. They will never sway on this subject and I don’t think it’ll change unless the authorities make a conscious effort to learn more about transgender medical conditions. In other countries, they have a proper guideline for issuing medical certificates for transgender pilots."
Adam, who enrolled in Skylark Aviation Academy in Johannesburg, returned to India after securing his license. Following transphobic attacks in his hometown in Thrissur, he left his home for Kochi at the age of 19. It was after Mathrubhumi printed a story about him being the first transman pilot that he gained the recognition of government officials. The state government awarded him Rs 23 lakh to pursue his education after which he enrolled in the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for a Commercial Pilot Training course for three years.
Adam says, “Gender issues are extremely misunderstood in our country. Transgender individuals voices are easily trampled upon. I will fight for justice no matter what it takes.” On a Facebook post that announced her struggle, she called for the support of Swati Bidhan Baruah, Assam’s first transgender nurse.