A TRANSGENDER man who gave birth has lost a High Court fight not to be named as the mother on the birth certificate.
Freddy McConnell, who was born a woman but gave birth while legally registered as a man following surgery, wants to be registered as father or parent.
But a judge on Wednesday ruled against the multimedia Guardian journalist after analysing the argument at a High Court trial in London.
Mr McConnell took legal action against the General Register Office, which administers the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales.
Following today’s ruling, the child’s birth certificate must show Mr McConnell as the mother.
In his ruling, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division of the High Court, said: “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’.”
Mr McConnell was biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but had legally become a man when the child was born.
A registrar told him the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers.
Mr McConnell said forcing him to register as the child’s mother breaches his human right to respect for privacy and family life.
Sir Andrew heard argument from lawyers representing Mr McConnell, the child, the head of the General Register Office, Department of Health and Social Care ministers and Home Office ministers.
Barrister Hannah Markham QC, who led Mr McConnell’s legal team, told the judge that it was in the child’s interests for Mr McConnell to be registered as father or parent.
She said many children were growing up in “rainbow families” and said a child had a right to have a parent’s gender “appropriately identified” on their birth certificate.
Barristers representing ministers and registrars said Mr McConnell’s claim should be dismissed.
Ben Jaffey QC and Sarah Hannett said the case raised complex public policy issues about protecting the rights and interests of trans people.
But they said a registrar had a “duty in law” to register Mr McConnell as “mother”, and argued that his human rights had not been breached.
Mr Jaffey said there was a logic behind the law.
He said the law distinguished between a “person who gives birth” and a “person who does not”.
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Mr Jaffey said that was why the person who gave birth was referred to as “mother”.
He said most other countries adopted the same legal logic.
Mr Jaffey also said naming Mr McConnell as father or parent would reveal the fact that he was a transgender man.
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