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Brazil: National Supervisory of Justice Authorizes Transgender Persons to Change Name and Gender at Civil Registries Without Judicial Approval

(July 11, 2018) On June 28, 2018, the National Supervisory of Justice (Corregedoria Nacional de Justiça) issued Administrative Act No. 73 (Provimento CNJ No. 73, de 28 de Junho de 2018, National Supervisory of Justice website), which provides in article 1 for registering the change of name and gender in the birth and marriage records of a transgender person in the Civil Registry of Natural Persons (Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais). (Corregedoria Normatiza Troca de Nome e Gênero em Cartório, CNJ NOTÍCIAS (June 29, 2018).)

Pursuant to article 2 of the Act, legally competent persons over 18 years of age may request the Civil Registry to change and register their name and gender in order to adapt the name and gender to the persons’ self-perceived identity. Change of family name, however, is not allowed. (Id. art. 2 (§ 2).)

The request may be submitted to the Civil Registry regardless of prior judicial authorization or proof of sexual reassignment surgery and/or hormonal or other medical treatment. The presentation of a medical or psychological report is also not required. (Id. art. 4 (§ 1).)

According to the abovementioned CNJ (National Council of Justice) article, the legislation is in line with the decision recently issued by the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) in the Direct Action of Unconstitutionality No. 4275-DF (Ação Direta de Incosntitucionalidade No. 4275, Federal Supreme Court website (last visited July 10, 2018)), which recognized the possibility of transgender persons changing their civil registry without gender change or even judicial authorization. Furthermore, international human rights laws, in particular the Pact of San José, Costa Rica (Decreto No. 678, de 6 de Novembro de 1992, Presidency of the Republic website), requires respect for the right to a name; recognition of legal personality; personal freedom, honor and dignity; and domestically, respect for the Brazilian Public Records Law (Lei de Registros Públicos, Lei No. 6.015 de 31 de Dezembro de 1973, Presidency of the Republic website). (CNJ NOTÍCIAS, supra.)

National Supervisory of Justice

The National Supervisory of Justice is an organ of the CNJ that acts “to orient, coordinate, and execute public policies focused on the correctional activity and good performance of the judicial activity of the courts and judges of the country.” (Cadastro Nacional de Adoção, CORREGEDORIA NACIONAL DE JUSTIÇA (last visited July 10, 2018) (translation by author).) The Supervisory aims to achieve improved effectiveness in the jurisdictional rendering of decisions in accordance with the principles of legality, impersonality, morality, publicity, and efficiency listed in article 37 of the Federal Constitution. (Id.)