Friday, October 16, 2009

Brazil: Court says transgender individuals have the right to change their name and gender on civil records

In an unanimous decision announced yesterday, Brazil's Supreme Justice Tribunal ruled that transgender individuals who have undergone gender-reassignment surgery have the right to change their name and gender on their birth certificates.

EFE reports that the ruling by the 2nd highest court in the nation came as a response to a woman who had undergone gender-reassignment surgery from male to female and asked the court to be allowed to officially change her name from Claudemir to Patricia.

A lower court in Sao Paulo had ruled against her saying that there was an "immutability" to the data contained in birth certificates and that someone's "appearance" did not supersede said immutability. But Supreme Justice Tribunal judge Nancy Andrighi said it was "contradictory" for the Brazilian government to offer free gender reassignment surgery to transgender individuals but stop short at denying them the right to change the data on their civil registry.

Andrighi, according to O Globo, also said that to deny a transgender person to officially change their name and gender would expose the person to ongoing exposure to ridicule and discrimination.

Coverage for gender-reassignment surgery was recently added to the list of procedures covered by the Brazilian government's National Health System.

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