Gemma Hickey, 44, needed surgery on her breasts. I wanted to delete them. “I had been taking testosterone for a little over a year, so even though my breasts hadn’t been removed until then, my appearance was masculine,” he says.
He’s a transsexual who, in that year, 2017, was still going through the gender reassignment process. For personal reasons, Gemma never wanted to change the female given name she was given at birth and today she recognizes herself as someone of a non-binary gender – who does not want to be presented as exclusively male. or female.
When he tried to leave for the Canadian province of Ontario, where he was going to have the operation, he had problems. “I looked masculine and my identification always indicated that I was a woman named Gemma. My identity was questioned before boarding and again when the flight attendant was checking the seats on the plane, ”he tells Folha. “It was awkward and embarrassing because the other passengers couldn’t get through.”
Gemma then bought a new fight in her long career as an LGBT + activist. By legal means, he insisted on obtaining documents which, instead of “F” (woman) or “M” (man) in the field of gender, are accompanied by the letter “X”, which symbolizes neutrality. It started with the birth certificate. “There was no space on the form for non-binary people, so I scribbled a box and wrote what I am next to the options ‘male’ and ‘female’.”
In 2018, he was one of the first Canadians to obtain an “X” passport. In the world, only a few countries offer this alternative, such as Germany, Denmark and Australia. Others, like the UK, are discussing the idea.
Democrat Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House has encouraged LGBT + Americans to fight for the United States to be next in this club. There, a person can change the gender of the passport, but only from male to female, and vice versa.
Brazil is still a few houses behind in this debate. In 2020, the Rio justice granted social scientist Aoi Berriel, then 24, the right to be recognized as a person of “unspecified sex” in the documents. Aoi uses the feminine pronoun to refer to himself, but he doesn’t think of himself as a woman.
She says the judge has already approved his lawyers’ thesis, but the process is not yet complete and therefore has not yet requested changes to his documentation. At least “I have already proven my non-binary legitimacy in Brazilian courts,” he says.
But airports remain potential battlegrounds for people who reject binary gender labels and also for transgender people as a whole. Today, any Brazilian trans can apply to the registry office – without needing a judicial authorization – to change their name and gender, depending on the identity in which the person sees themselves.
The procedure became easier from March 2018, when the Federal Court ruled that it was possible for a trans person to change their marital status without necessarily undergoing a sex reassignment operation. You no longer need a judge’s permission to request the change either: you just need to be of legal age, go to the registry and that’s it.
Binaries no longer need to go to court. The case of Aoi is a pioneer in this regard. Today, the person who corrected his name and gender even manages to get a passport with the classification that he chose for himself. The problem is when she chooses to include only the social name in the RG.
In these cases, there is no exclusion of the birth name, also called the dead name by someone who considers themselves reborn with the new identity. Both are in the document.
For non-binary people, who don’t have a gender alternative for them, this ends up being a gambiarra. There is no way to do it like Gemma, who has already taken out her “X” passport.
Before going to court, the carioca Aoi could not remove the “masculine” from its documentation. If she tried to travel abroad, her more feminine appearance could be a barrier to boarding.
“Today the company name can be found in the RG, CPF, voter registration, work and driver licenses. But not yet in the passport, ”explains Bruna Andrade, founder of the startup Bicha da Justiça, which provides legal advice to the LGBT + community.
The rectification, it is true, would allow the application for a new passport. But the company name is more beneficial for many due to multiple factors, according to Andrade. “1) It’s cheaper; 2) can be done by minors [mediante responsáveis legais], and the rectification only concerns persons over 18 years of age; 3) understands non-binary people; 4) sometimes the person just wants to change the name without too much bureaucracy, the social name comes out right away, the rectification is a little more bureaucratic.
According to the federal police, responsible for issuing passports in Brazil, this registration is supported by the identification document presented at the time of service. In other words, the social name alone is not enough. You need the full package.
“The applicant [LGBT+] in question will be treated in the same way when the name changes due to marriage, divorce, etc. It will be necessary to present all the official documents in original, proving the name and the current sex ”, specifies the PF in a note.
And it’s not just in Brazil. The lack of global standardization for multiple LGBT + identifications is reflected in airports around the world.
The mother of a 16-year-old girl went to court to have her daughter boarded for the United States. It turns out that on his ticket there was a different name than on the US passport.
She has dual citizenship, Brazilian and American, and managed to change the name and gender listed in the documents there. In the American passport, it is a girl. In the Brazilian documents, my boy.
The plane tickets were purchased in December 2016 and the young woman had her gender validated by the American authorities three months later. In an unprecedented decision, a judge in Santa Catarina granted him an injunction to travel without any discomfort when boarding.
Transrevolution Group President Indianara Siqueira, 50, says something else is embarrassment against LGBT + people like her. When it comes to entering a country, for example, it is common for immigration officers to mistake transgender women for prostitutes and subject them to lengthy interrogations, when they do not simply send them back. their country of origin.
At the time of the body search, we do not even speak. The passport indicates a male traveler, which does not correspond to the reality noted by the authorities. “With the chest they’re already terrified, the chest and the stick in the same body, they think it’s surreal. To be trans and transvestite in a society that does not respect our bodies, is to have a problem at all times, whether it is going to the bathroom or taking a trip, ”he says.