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Trans Man Loses Supreme Court Battle To Be Named Father On Son’s Birth Certificate

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 17 Nov 2020 13:09
Trans Man Loses Supreme Court Battle To Be Named Father On Son's Birth CertificateTrans Man Loses Supreme Court Battle To Be Named Father On Son's Birth CertificateITV/Freddy McConnell/YouTube

A transgender man has lost a Supreme Court battle to be noted as ‘Father’ or ‘Parent’ on his son’s birth certificate.

Freddy McConnell became pregnant and give birth to his son, Jack, in 2018, but he was legally registered as a man at the time.

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The dad-of-one, from Kent, had been taking testosterone since 2014, and had already undergone top surgery prior to the pregnancy.

Freddy McConnell Trans Dad Who Gave Birth 2Freddy McConnell Trans Dad Who Gave Birth 2BBC

Following the birth, Freddy, whose story was told in a BBC documentary called Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, wanted to be named as Jack’s father on the birth certificate.

Freddy took his case to the family division of the High Court last year, arguing that being named as the child’s mother goes against his human right to respect for private and family life.

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However, a judge ruled that under English common law, the definition of a mother is about being pregnant and giving birth, regardless of whether that person is a woman or a man.

Sir Andrew McFarlane ruled that there was ‘a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.’

Trans Dad Continues Legal Battle To Be Registered 'Mother' On Child's Birth CertificateTrans Dad Continues Legal Battle To Be Registered 'Mother' On Child's Birth CertificateBBC

Earlier this year, three Court of Appeal judges dismissed Freddy’s case, saying it involved complex ‘interlinked’ legislation and therefore any reform on the law is something that would have to be handled in parliament.

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Now, Freddy has failed to persuade Supreme Court justices to hear this case.

A spokesperson for the court said Freddy had been refused permission to mount a Supreme Court challenge, because it did not raise ‘an arguable point of law,’ which ‘ought to be considered.’

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has described the Supreme Court Justices’ decision as a ‘missed opportunity to progress equality.’

Freddy McConnell Trans Dad Who Gave Birth 3Freddy McConnell Trans Dad Who Gave Birth 3BBC/Seahorse
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‘All parents, including LGBT parents, deserve to be recognised for who they are and it’s incredibly frustrating that the Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to progress equality,’ Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley told Kent Online.

‘The current legislation contradicts the fragile equality trans people currently have, where they can have full recognition on some legal documents, but not on others.’

She added:

Just like any other parents, trans parents should be able to have their relationship to their child recognised on their child’s birth certificates.

Equality is not a luxury and this legislation desperate needs to be updated so trans parents can be recognised for who they are.

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If Freddy had been successful in his legal challenge, his child would have been the first person born in England and Wales to not legally have a mother, as he is a single parent.

The 33-year-old was able to conceive on the second attempt of using a sperm donor, and opted to give birth naturally. His story was well documented in the film, in which Freddy spoke candidly about the many changes pregnancy had on his body.

As a result of having to come off testosterone to conceive, he found that his facial hair thinned, his hips broadened and he began speaking from his throat, rather than from his chest.

In the film, he said that ‘if all men got pregnant, then pregnancy would be taken more seriously and talked about.’

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Life, LGBTQ+, trans

Credits

Kent Online
  1. Kent Online

    Stonewall calls for change after trans man fails in birth certificate legal bid