Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Brazilian Supreme Court Decision to Allow Trans Persons to Change Name through Self-Declaration

April 23, 2018

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Washington DC - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court (STF) of Brazil, which authorized the alteration of civil birth records for trans persons through self-declaration without the need for prior surgical intervention, medical or psychological reports, or even a judicial decision. The STF decision represents a significant step forward in guaranteeing the rights of trans people in the country, in particular the recognition of gender identity, respecting the Inter-American standards of human rights.

The Inter-American Commission has received information that the Brazilian Supreme Court has recognized the right to change the name of trans persons in the country's civil registry through self-declaration, without the need for a judicial, medical or psychological decision and without the need to perform sexual assertion surgery. According to the information received, the STF ministers took into account the right to dignity and the right to self-affirmation, recognizing the right to identity of trans persons according to their self-identification. In the same sense, the IACHR also highlights the positive impacts of the aforementioned decision, which, according to the information received, will already be applied by the Supreme Electoral Court in its future electoral processes.

The Inter-American Commission emphasizes that the right to identity is a constitutive factor of the human personality and the lack of recognition directly impacts on the integral enjoyment of the human rights of trans persons. The implementation of legal mechanisms that recognize access to documentation according to one’s gender identity has a positive impact on the lives of these persons. However, the Commission remarks that, despite the importance of these regulations and the efforts of several States in the region to implement them, their mere existence do not resolve or guarantee the full protection of trans persons’ human rights.

The Commission welcomes the decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court and calls on all States in the region to adopt comprehensive and transparent laws and policies aimed at recognizing gender identity, as well as legal and social guarantees that promote respect for all human rights of trans persons, including their bodily autonomy.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 085/18