Transgender man Freddy McConnell, who gave birth last year, has lost his legal bid to register as his son’s father.
McConnell started testosterone treatment in 2013 but retained his reproductive system.
After his son Jack was born in 2018, a registrar insisted McConnell be recorded as the baby’s mother on the birth certificate.
This was despite McConnell’s gender recognition certificate declaring under British law he is male.
He argued in England’s top family court he wanted to be named “father” or “parent”. However, a judge upheld the registrar’s decision.
Judge Sir Andrew McFarlane ruled that motherhood is a “parental status” and is different to gender.
“Being a ‘mother’ or a ‘father’ with respect to the conception, pregnancy and birth of a child is not necessarily gender-specific,” McFarlane said in the ruling.
“There is 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.”
McFarlane also praised McConnell for “bravely” bringing his case and said there was a “pressing need” for government and parliament to consider the situation.
Freddy McConnell saddened by the court decision
Freddy McConnell said he was “saddened” by the court verdict and is considering an appeal.
“If it is upholding the status quo then I am really worried about what that this means not just for me but other trans people who are parents or who want to become parents,” he told The Guardian.
“It upholds the view that only the most traditional forms of family are properly recognised or treated equally. It’s just not fair.”
According to Australian records, 205 trans and gender diverse men gave birth between 2013 and 2018.
UK LGBTIQ charity Stonewall said the ruling was “deeply disappointing” and failed to recognise trans parents for who they were.
“It’s another example of how current legislation contradicts the fragile equality trans people currently have,” campaigns director Laura Russell said.
“This legislation desperately needs to be updated to ensure trans people are recognised for who they are in all areas of their lives.
McConnell captured his journey to parent in the recent documentary Seahorse. The title reference the sea creatures which reproduce through male pregnancies.
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