Transgender man loses appeal court battle to be registered as father

A transgender man who had a baby and is fighting against being described as “mother” on the birth certificate has lost his Court of Appeal case.

Freddy McConnell, a journalist who is in his early 30s, wants to be registered as “father” or “parent” and believes that forcing him to be recorded as the child’s “mother” breaches his human right to respect for private and family life.

The Government argued that he must be the “mother” because he gave birth to the child, who has a “right to know the identity of the person who carried him or her”.

Mr McConnell is a single parent who was born a woman but now lives as a man following surgery.

Ten days after he legally became a man, he accessed sperm from a donor and because he had decided to keep his womb, was in the position of being a pregnant man.

Mr McConnell, a multimedia journalist who works for the Guardian, was biologically able to get pregnant in 2017, and when he gave birth in 2018, was legally a man when his child was born.

He wanted to be registered as father or parent but a registrar told him that the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers.

Mr McConnell took legal action against the General Register Office, which administers the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales.

He then mounted an appeal after a judge ruled against him in September, following a High Court trial in London.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, concluded that people who have given birth are legally mothers, regardless of their gender, and said there is a ‘material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent’.

Three appeal judges upheld Sir Andrew’s ruling today.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, the most senior judge in England and Wales, sitting with Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh, said: ‘The legislative scheme of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) required Mr McConnell to be registered as the mother of YY, rather than the father, parent or gestational parent.

‘That requirement did not violate his or YY’s Article 8 rights (to private and family life, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights).

‘There is no incompatibility between the GRA and the Convention. In the result we dismiss these appeals.’

 

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