Brazil lowers the minimum age for gender confirmation surgery, but bans pre-puberty hormone blockers

Trans masculine bottom surgery currently unavailable in UK on NHS

Brazil has dropped the minimum age for gender confirmation surgery from 21 to 18, while simultaneously banning the use of hormone blockers in those yet to go through puberty.

The new regulations issued by Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) were hailed as “progressive” in a country that had the highest number of trans murders in the world last year.

“If no rules are made, you can end up causing a lot more harm and taking inappropriate attitudes, often with no scientific criteria,” said CFM head Donizetti Giamberardino at a press conference.

“This resolution comes as an enhancement, a maturing of concepts. It deals mainly with the inclusion of the needs of these people in health care, encompassing treatments – like hormone treatment. It also bring surgical procedures up to date,” he added.

The medical regulations, which were last updated in 2010, now state that hormone therapy must not be administered until the age of 16. Hormone blockers may be given following an evaluation by a medical team when the child enters puberty.

It says that this period may vary from 8 to 13 years old for children assigned female at birth, and 9 to 14 for children assigned male at birth.

The concern with this, however, is that it may lead to doctors gatekeeping treatment rather than letting trans children and parents take responsibility for their own care.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech during the appointment ceremony of the new heads of public banks, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 7, 2019

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked LGBT+ people in his rhetoric (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty)

LGBT+ advocates in Brazil said they welcomed the new rules, while appearing to acknowledge their limitations.

“This resolution is very important for us. It’s not the resolution of our dreams, but it’s a big step forward,” Symmy Larrat, president of the advocacy group ABGLT, told Thomson Reuters.

The regulations were announced just days after Brazil’s strongly anti-LGBT+ president Jair Bolsonaro spoke out against what he called “gender ideolog”.

“A father wants his son to be a man, his daughter to be a woman,” he said in a live social media broadcast.