Transgender Pilot Wins Battle Against FAA

Transgender Pilot Wins Battle Against FAA

In a matter of weeks, Bay Area pilot Tamsyn Waterhouse could once again be fully licensed to fly planes, because she challenged the Federal Aviation Administration and won.

Waterhouse, 32, with support from the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, waged a three-year battle against the federal agency, ultimately prompting it to ease restrictions against transgender pilots.

“After three years of advocacy, we are thrilled to see the FAA remove unnecessary and burdensome barriers for transgender pilots,” said Masen Davis, executive director of the TLC, in an email to the Bay Area Reporter. “At [TLC] our goal is to create a society where every person can live authentically, free from discrimination. For Tamsyn, that means being able to fly.”

“Given what an incredibly positive experience gender transition was for me in every respect – from my friends, my family, my colleagues – it kind of made me expect everything would be perfect all the time,” Waterhouse said in an interview at Google’s San Francisco offices where she is a software engineer.

“At the same time I was hitting a wall with the FAA. It was kind of a shock. And so I had a desire to move a wall and the confidence that, if everything else can work, then maybe this can, too.”

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