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Struggle to fly as a trans man: India’s first transgender pilot

In India, the transgender community faces numerous discriminations. The Supreme Court recognised them as the third gender in 2014. Even though they had to deal with marginalisation, social exclusion, harassment in the educational setting, poor economic conditions, workplace discrimination, homelessness, transphobia, and other issues.

Famous Third genders of India

Padmini Prakash, K Prithika Yashini, Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Joyita Mondal, Nitasha Biswas Esther Bharathi, and Aryan Pasha are some of India’s prominent transgender achievers who overcame discrimination and oppression to become what they are today. Adam Harry, who follows the same path, is working hard to advance his career and identity.

Struggling Life Of India’s First Transman Pilot

Adam Harry was on his way to fulfilling a long-held dream of becoming a pilot when India’s aviation authorities declared him unfit to fly due to hormone therapy.


Adam was born to a conservative Muslim family in Kerala’s Thrissur district and was a female by birth. He was born into a middle-class family.

Adam Hary: India’s First Transgender Pilot

Becoming A Laughing stock

He became a laughingstock when his suppressed identity was revealed in front of his classmates, teachers, and society. But he wished to fly. As a result, he decided to pursue his dream in South Africa. Thus his parents took a loan to send him to a flying school in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Life In South Africa

He didn’t face any gender issues there. In financially struggling situations, he scored ninety per cent marks. He became India’s first transgender trainee pilot in 2019. When he revealed his transgender identity on social media, his parents called him back. He was held in home detention for more than ten months and received corrective therapy. His parents never let him take commercial pilot training because they are embarrassed by his identity. Society’s pressure on his parents, and thus on him, was intolerable. As a result, he left his home and relocated to Kochi.

Life in Kochi

Life was difficult there as well. He worked as a casual labourer, in juice stands, and eventually as a teacher at an aviation academy. He was not paid well after revealing his identity. His life there was a living hell.

Harry managed to beat the odds with his willpower

Closer To His Dream

He wished to pursue his ambition of becoming a commercial pilot. Adam joined the Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology in Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala government provided a scholarship to help Adam realise his dream of becoming a commercial pilot in 2020. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) declared him unfit to fly, citing hormone therapy and gender dysphoria as reasons.

Adam has been taking sex hormone therapy medication to support his transition from his biological gender. According to the DGCA, he is not eligible to become a pilot until he has completed this therapy. They advised Adam to retake the medical exam once the treatment was complete. But the fact is that transgender individuals will need to take this therapy throughout their life. Adam never loses hope and has stated that he will challenge the DCGA’s ruling and clear the way for those who may come after him.

In between his struggles, he does many jobs like hosting programmes on local TV channels, speaking to college students about gender equality, and working for food delivery apps to make ends meet. Adam Harry, the first transgender private pilot licence holder, is struggling to pursue his dream while maintaining his gender identity. Adam deconstructs the gender binaries imposed by society throughout his life. He was forced to leave his family due to societal stigmas and prejudices and is now fighting with DCGA’s policies to reach his goal. We hope he will definitely overcome this crisis and fly high with his dreams soon.

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