Transgender man who gave birth to appeal court decision describing him as 'mother'

4 March 2020, 05:30

Mr McConnell has been living as a man for years
Mr McConnell has been living as a man for years. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A transgender man who gave birth but does not want to go down on the birth certificate as "mother" is preparing for the next round of a legal battle.

Guardian journalist Freddy McConnell wants to be listed on the birth record as father or parent.

Last year a High Court judge ruled against Mr McConnell but he has now launched an appeal.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, concluded that people who had given birth were legally mothers, regardless of their gender.

Now three appeal judges, including the most senior judge in England and Wales, are to consider the case.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh are scheduled to analyse arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Wednesday.

Sir Andrew heard that Mr McConnell was a single parent who was born a woman but now lives as a man following surgery.

Mr McConnell had been biologically able to get pregnant, and give birth but had legally become a man when the child was born.

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

If the appeal is successful the child could have been the first in England and Wales to not have a mother
If the appeal is successful the child could have been the first in England and Wales to not have a mother. Picture: PA

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

Sir Andrew concluded there was a "material difference between a person's gender and their status as a parent".

"Being a 'mother', whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth," he said in a ruling.

"It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child.

"Whilst that person's gender is 'male', their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of 'mother'."

Sir Andrew said the child could not be named in media reports.

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