USHPA follows the CIVL policy on pilot gender. The pilot’s gender is what is stated on their government-issued identification.
USHPA recently received considerable input regarding allowing transgender pilots, specifically transgender women, to be scored in the women’s category in competitions. After careful consideration of all the opinions received, we have decided to affirm our adherence to the CIVL policy of accepting whatever gender is on the pilot’s government-issued identification.* We believe this to be an inclusive policy, allowing pilots to fly in the women’s category if that best meets their self-identification if they have committed to that decision by having their gender changed on their ID. Note that there is significant time and effort required to do so, including having completed transition, or be well down the path as attested to by a qualified physician. The situation that some pilots were concerned about, where a pilot simply decides to fly as a woman, is completely precluded by this policy, as it requires demonstrated commitment to the gender change. We hope that this policy encourages and supports all pilots, regardless of their gender at birth, to participate in competitions.
Note that, arguably, one potential advantage that some biological-at-birth men have over some women is size. It is believed that some of the larger wings (which larger pilots can fly), have some performance advantage over smaller wings. But pilots, regardless of gender, already come in all sizes and weights. So, the USHPA competition committee is taking under consideration the idea of adding a new category for pilots whose all-up flying weight is under a threshold that will typically correspond with wings of size S and smaller. In the UK, this is called the “Reynolds Class.” This would be in addition to the existing open, women’s, sport, etc., categories, not a replacement for the women’s category, and it would take effect for the 2020 competition season. The USHPA competition committee welcomes your feedback on the potential addition of this new class. Please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*With several states issuing ID's with nonbinary gender designations, more discussion is needed to finalize the policy with regard to nonbinary pilots.