Freddy McConnell Gave Birth To Child In 2018
A transgender man has lost his battle in the courts to be legally recognised as the father of the child he gave birth to.
Freddy McConnell, who has been living as a man since 2010, gave birth to his child in 2018. Current law requires that the birth parent is always to be regarded as the Mother of the child even if that parent is, as in this case, legally recognised as a man.
In a blow to transgender rights supporters, Mr McConnell lost his case at the High Court yesterday (25 September). Mr McConnell’s legal team have said they will appeal the decision.
The case marked the first legal definition of a mother in common law. Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior family law judge in the country, ruled being a mother was about the physical act of pregnancy and giving birth – even if the person was a man in law.
Family law experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell say the ruling is a clear breach of human rights, citing Canada and Sweden’s gender neutral birth certificates as examples where transgender rights are recognised.
Expert Opinion“The decision is hugely disappointing and highlights one of the many challenges faced by trans people wishing to create a family. It cannot be right that a person can be legally recognised as male is some respects, such as on a Gender Recognition Certificate, but not in others.
“The welfare of the child is also key - as far as Mr McConnell's child is concerned, he is their father and their birth certificate should reflect the reality of their family situation.
“We cannot endorse a cherry-picking policy, in this case for transgender parents and the registration of the birth of their children. We allow individuals a legal route to acquire gender; we must not then fall short when they wish to use those rights in practice. Otherwise, why bother in the first place?
“Other jurisdictions such as Canada and Sweden have gender neutral birth certificates, so England should follow their example to keep up with societal developments and respect the human rights of the trans community. This case should be appealed as the existing law is a human rights law breach.” Hannah Saxe - Senior Associate Solicitor