A transgender man who made history by giving birth to a baby is facing a legal battle to be named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
Freddy McConnell, 32, transitioned from female to male before giving birth in 2018; he had been living as a male for several years and had been taking testosterone from the age of 25, as well as undergoing chest reshaping surgery.
A proud transgender campaigner, Freddy requested to be named as the father when he went to register his firstborn’s birth certificate. However, the General Register Office refused, claiming that a child legally has to have a mother.
Freddy objected, pointing out he is now – and was on the day his child was born – legally a man and should be recognised as such on the legal document.
The new father’s objections have led to a High Court battle, in which Freddy’s lawyer is arguing it’s a breach of his human rights to force him to be recognised as the baby’s mother.
As reported by The Guardian, Freddy had sought a judicial review in the family division of the high court and during the case, his identity and that of his child were protected by an anonymity order.
However, media organisations requested that order was lifted, arguing the new dad had been planning a documentary about the conception, pregnancy and birth of his child, and so he cannot expect to remain anonymous.
Freddy’s lawyers argued linking his name to the case was unfair, warning he could be the subject of online trolling, doorstepping by the media, and other distressing behaviour.
Lawyers representing his child also argued the potential for them to ‘be the target of playground bullies was all too plain’ if the father’s name was known to the public, and that consequences for the child would be ‘extreme’ – even though reporting about the case would not benefit from naming the father.
Responding to the anonymity being lifted, Freddy said:
Protecting my child has always been and will always be my number one concern. This was the purpose of the anonymity order.
Now that my anonymity has been lifted, I embrace the opportunity to draw focus on to the need for equality in this area of the law. All children should be able to have their legal parents correctly and accurately recorded on their birth certificates.
His lawyer, Karen Holden, said having an accurate birth certificate is ‘vital’ as it stays with someone their entire life and ‘forms part of their identity’.
The judgment on whether Freddy should be allowed to be called the child’s father is expected later this week.
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 Mondays and Fridays, 8 pm to midnight and is run by trans volunteers.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).