Trans man who doesn't want to be 'mother' on birth certificate loses legal battle

29 April 2020, 11:49

Mr McConnell has been living as a man for years.
Mr McConnell has been living as a man for years. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A transgender man who has given birth but does not want to be described as "mother" on a birth certificate has lost an Appeal Court battle.

Freddy McConnell wants to be registered as father or parent.

Mr McConnell mounted an appeal after a judge ruled against him in September, following a High Court trial in London.

On Wednesday the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, sitting with two other senior judges, upheld an earlier ruling by the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane.

He said: "The legislative scheme of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) required Mr McConnell to be registered as the mother of YY, rather than the father, parent or gestational parent.

"That requirement did not violate his or YY's Article 8 rights (to private and family life, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights).

"There is no incompatibility between the GRA and the Convention. In the result we dismiss these appeals."

The judges refused to grant Mr McConnell permission to take his case to the Supreme Court, although he may still pursue an appeal there.

The judge also said the Children Act 1989 provides that a mother has automatic parental responsibility for a child from the moment of birth.

He said: "No-one else has that automatic parental responsibility, including the father.

"There is no need for any registration document for that purpose.

"The fact of giving birth to a child has that effect as a matter of operation of law. It can readily be understood why this could be important in practice.

"From the moment of birth someone must have parental responsibility for a newly born child, for example, to authorise medical treatment and more generally to become responsible for its care."

Mr McConnell was biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but legally became a man when the child was born.

He wanted to be registered as father or parent but a registrar told him that the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers.

Mr McConnell took legal action against the General Register Office, which administers the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales.

Lawyers say the child would have been the first person born in England and Wales not to legally have a mother if Mr McConnell had won.