The Supreme Court of Brazil is due to decide this Thursday (April 20) whether transgender people can change their registered names when they have not had a sex reassignment surgery. The name change in official documents (including ID cards) is not expressly permitted under current laws.
The Supreme Court will hear an appeal against a ruling in a court from Rio Grande do Sul state that denied permission for a local notary to change a transgender person's civil identity to show their preferred name.
The appeal to the Supreme Court argued the ban on name change is in violation of the constitutional provisions “to promote the well-being of all, without prejudice as to origin, race, sex,
colour, age and any other forms of discrimination.”
“Treating transgender people as unable to decide about their own sexuality simply because they are not part of an hegemonic group of people for whom the genitalia matches the outer gender expression is a violation of the principle of human dignity,” the appellants argued.
The case is being presided over in the Supreme Court by Justice Dias Toffoli, and the final ruling will apply to all similar cases litigated in court.
Transgender people are currently allowed to use their preferred name (known in Brazil as “social name”) in non-official identification, including badges, and when registering for the National Secondary Education Examinations (ENEM). Federal administration agencies have also allowed the use of the social name and the recognition of the gender identity of transgender people since April 2016.
The social name is chosen by a transgender person based on the gender they identify with, regardless their real names on their birth records.
Translated by Mayra Borges