Thursday, September 26, 2019

Transgender man loses battle to be registered as father

A transgender man from Kent who gave birth with the help of fertility treatment cannot be registered as his child’s father, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has ruled.

In the first legal definition of a mother in English common law, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the high court’s family division, ruled on Wednesday that motherhood was about being pregnant and giving birth regardless of whether the person who does so was considered a man or a woman in law.

Freddy McConnell, 32, who has lived as a man for several years but retained his female reproductive system and gave birth in 2018, went to court after a registrar insisted he was recorded as the baby’s mother on the birth certificate despite holding a gender recognition certificate that made it clear the law considered him male.

The ruling was quickly attacked by campaigners and lawyers as a blow to the rights of trans parents and their children and sparked calls, including from the judge, for legislative reform.

“Being a ‘mother’ or a ‘father’ with respect to the conception, pregnancy and birth of a child is not necessarily gender specific,” McFarlane concluded after McConnell requested a judicial review.

“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.

“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’.”

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