Vol 68, No 4 (2017)
Case report
Published online: 2017-12-22

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Can a transgender person be an occupational diver? Demonstration from a case report

Richard Pougnet12, Brice Loddé12, Anne Henckes12, Jean-Dominique Dewitte12, Laurence Pougnet13
Pubmed: 29297572
IMH 2017;68(4):211-214.


This is the first case report about a transgender professional diver. The purpose of this article is to show the professional adaptations to help him to continue occupational dive and to raise the question of the impact on diving risks of hormonal treatment in this case. He was a 39-year-old man when he began his transition. He had worked as a diver for 9 years before his transition. When he changed to look like a woman, there were a few difficulties in continuing his professional activity. The main difficulty was that he looked like a woman while working with men. Modesty was a crucial issue in the enterprise. There were other problems such as the organisation of premises, the physical workload and the interaction between treatments and diving. There is a lack of a law to guide the employer. French legislation does not address the issue of transsexuals for this profession. The medical recommendations do not specify contraindications or adaptations for diving safely. Because of his transition, he lost muscle mass. The occupational physician helped to adjust his activity: decreasing the weight of his diving suit, creating a female-like locker room etc. Finally, the question of the risk of decompression illness arose. Legal hormonal medication seems not to significantly increase the risk of decompression illness, but this diver was taking illicit treatment to speed up the transition. The occupational physician recommended taking the legal hormonal medication.


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