The struggle of the LGBTQIA+ community for the recognition of their rights is old, but, little by little, reality has been changed in favor of this audience. This is the case of Inan Alves Domingues, 28, from São Paulo in Pirassununga, 213 km from the capital, who currently lives in Brasília. In September 2021, he was the second non-binary person from São Paulo and the fifth in the country to win the right to change his birth certificate to include the designation “agender / undefined gender” and make the neutral name official. In a parallel process, he, who had been registered as Inan Alves de Araújo, also changed his surname to that of his father, Domingues.
The historian is one of many people in the country who do not identify as either male or female. According to research carried out at the Faculty of Medicine of Botucatu last year, the proportion of individuals identified as transgender or non-binary in the Brazilian adult population is approximately 2%, representing almost 3 million individuals. The survey, the first of its kind carried out in Latin America, surveyed 6,000 people in 129 municipalities in all regions of the country.
The objective of non-binary people is to obtain the right to change the certificate without using legal means, which trans-binary people achieved in 2018, when the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ordered the rectification of documents directly in the registry offices. However, non-binary people can only change their gender from female to male and vice versa. As the determination of the STF does not include the agender population, legal action is necessary.
So achieving change is not easy. Domingues had to file a lawsuit that took seven months to complete, with two denials before the final result of the judge Carlos Alberto de Salles, of the 3rd Chamber of Private Law of the Court of Justice of São Paulo. “My process took seven months, which I thought was very fast, but it could have been sooner. On the way we had two denials. Then we asked for a hearing with the prosecutor and that’s when the person turned around and said: ‘I don’t know, I don’t know absolutely nothing about this issue and I need some time to investigate,'” he says.
“I believe it didn’t come out earlier due to the lack of preparation of the people involved in the process”, he evaluates. The expense that Domingues had in the process was about R$ 200 with documents, without considering the notary fees and displacements. The lawyer, Rachel Macedo Rocha, gave up her payment as a way of supporting the community. Rocha is the founder and counselor of Abrai (Brazilian Intersex Association).
In addition to allowing trans-binary people to change their documents at the registry offices, another achievement of the LGBTQIA+ community took place on September 12, 2021, when the CNJ (National Council of Justice), at the request of the Brazilian Institute of Family Law, guaranteed that the child born intersex is registered as “sex ignored”. The measure allows the designation of gender in any civil registry office without the need for judicial authorization, proof of sexual surgery or presentation of a medical or psychological report.
With favorable court decisions, Domingues celebrates the community’s achievements in recent years, but still foresees a lot of struggle on the day. “How much I lived in São Paulo was a practically quiet issue, because I already used the social name both at the university and in the places where I went. In Brasília, no. I’ve had problems in the health system”, he reports. Despite this, he considers that the achievement of the right to change the document was “much more a personal gain of self-affirmation, of having the recognition validated by state institutions, than in everyday practice”.
In addition to insisting until he got the new registration, he also had to fight to change the other documents, such as RG and CPF. “Although my certificate is agender, all my registrations in other institutions remain in the male, because their system is not updated and only has male and female options. It could have male, female and other options. That would be enough” , it says.
Domingues highlights the work being done by the Justice of Rio de Janeiro on diversity issues. The state was the first to authorize agender registration, in August 2020. Since then, the Public Defender’s Office has been assisting with class actions, such as the one last December that guaranteed 96 favorable court decisions for transgender and non-binary people to update their documents in the registries.
Celebrities who declared themselves agenders, such as Bárbara Paz and Demi Lovato, have also helped to put the issue in evidence.