You will recall that in the aftermath of my visit with the FAA, when I began looking at different regulations, I felt there were conflicting bits of information regarding changing one’s gender from different parts of the FAA. Having pinpointed three of the inconsistencies, I decided to write the FSDO officer I met this morning, asking for clarification:

Gene,

Thanks for taking time to meet with me about name and sex information on a new airman’s license. In looking at the FAA website (http://www.faa.gov/pilots/lic_cert/change/name_change/) I see that the language is a little bit different from the 5-317 regulation you showed me this morning, specifically in using “one or both” documents instead of “two,” and specifying more broadly what 5-317 calls “a physician” to the more general language “physician or clinical psychologist” who can state that “applicant is undergoing treatment that has altered or will alter the gender.” I also note that for airframe mechanics (5-1138), the language is also different, saying “or” and taking a much looser approach than the airman’s procedure, requiring either a court order "stating that the applicant has changed his/her gender, or a statement from a physician or clinical psychologist treating the applicant that ... verifies that the applicant is undergoing treatment that has altered or will alter the applicant’s gender."

I’m just wondering if 5-317 is necessarily the final word, or if it’s just a case of the web language being written by someone different from the FSDO regulations, and thus introducing incorrect information – I mean, one of them is wrong, right? I’m sure this is not a pressing issue, but I would like to get some clarification on just what the FAA’s procedure actually is.

Sincerely yours,

And this afternoon, I received the following non-reply:


The document I proved to you is FAA Order 8900.1. This order provides procedures that all FAA Inspectors are required to follow. If obtaining a physician statement is not possible I advise you to contact FAA Airman Records at 866-8782498. They may be able to provide you with additional information. Please contact us if need to make another appoint to complete your request. you may also contact this office if you have any questions.

Gene Morehead
FAA, Flight Standards District Office

So what Gene is telling me is a) I have no idea where the other language comes from because there is only one set of documents I follow, b) Hey, I’m just following orders, and c) Please go seek your answers somewhere else because I have done all I can do, but if someone else comes up with something that does my job for me, maybe I’ll listen. It’s not terribly helpful, but at least the Airman Records phone number is a new piece in the puzzle. I am disappointed in the fact that Gene did not take up the gauntlet of figuring out contradictory information coming from his own organization because, approve of me or not, I would think that a bureaucratic regulator would be concerned about misinformation.