Yes, of course you can. In fact, back in 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) actually made it easier for trans pilots to get their licenses and streamlined the application process to ensure they get any medical reviews completed ASAP.
That being said, there was not a new policy put into place then and it isn’t the case that prior to 2016, trans folk simply couldn’t become pilots.
It is just that the process has been updated in order to make things a hell of a lot easier for those who do!
There is really only one difference in the process for trans pilots.
Those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery or only started taking hormones in the last five years have to submit “an evaluation from the treating physician, using World Professional Association for Transgender Health guidelines,” to ensure their health, physically and mentally, is in the condition necessary for becoming a pilot.
Not to worry, though, if your surgery or hormone treatment began over five years ago, there is no extra step and your process will be completed in the same way as it would for a cisgender pilot - which just means a pilot who is not trans if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology.
Can You Become A Pilot If You Are Gay?
You sure can! Given discrimination against someone for their sexuality has been illegal in most parts of the world for a great deal of time now, one’s sexual identity is not even mentioned in the process of becoming a pilot.
If you’re so inclined, you can even become a member of the National Gay Pilots Association, a group dedicated to bringing together the aviation experts and enthusiasts globally, who also happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.
As part of their work, the NGPA “offers assistance to airline management teams in the development of LGBTQ training specifically targeted to flight operations… consistent with inclusiveness themes…provided in existing training initiatives.”
Basically, if you’re a part of the LGBTQ community and worried that your sexuality or gender identity might be a roadblock, get in touch with these guys.
They’ll be able to reassure you and provide any support you might need on the journey to pilot hood.
Can You Become A Pilot If You Are A Lesbian?
Hell yes you can! Provided you have attended ground school, flight school and received a certified license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) then you’re good to go, and being attracted to women has nothing to do with that.
Unlike being trans, which requires an additional medical screening due to the nature of hormone therapy and the risks associated, your sexuality is irrelevant.
Identifying as a lesbian, bisexual, gay, pansexual, or any label outside the remit of heterosexuality will not even be asked about, or at least it shouldn’t.
Worried about being a part of the LGBTQ community and not having any support around you? Don’t be! The National Gay Pilots Association, founded back in the early nineties, is right here to support you.
No matter how you label yourself, they’ll be there to help you out, offer any advice you need, and send advocates to assist in situations where your sexuality has posed a problem… but these are incredibly rare, and should not stop you from pursuing your dreams whatsoever.
I for one would feel much safer being piloted by a lesbian.
Can You Become A Pilot If You Are Non-Binary?
Most definitely! No matter what your gender identity, pilot school is open to you. Depending on whether you have had any gender-affirming surgeries or if you take hormones, there may be an extra step or two to the process, but that’s all.
Those who don’t feel the need to undergo surgery or hormonal treatment don’t have to do anything else, though if you use a different name to that on your birth certificate, you will have to have legally changed it and be able to provide evidence (e.g through a deed poll) in order to have your chosen name displayed on your license.
If you had your surgery over five years ago, or you have been taking hormones for longer than five years then, again, nothing different will occur.
It is only those who have had an operation or started hormones as recently as the last five years for whom the process is different.
Even then, it’s nothing scary - just a medical conducted by a specialist who understands trans health care, in order to ensure you are safe to fly from a mental and physical health perspective.
This is not discriminatory in any way - or at least it should not be - and simply to ensure that you are well enough to actively pilot a plane.
Don’t be intimidated - the NGPA has its own section for supporting trans people, and they would be more than happy to help you through the process, ensuring you are treated fairly and equally to your cis colleagues/fellow students.