Transgender man loses fight to be named 'father' on his baby's birth certificate

26 September 2019, 11:22

Freddy believes forcing the label of 'mother' on him is a breach of his human rights.

A transgender man has lost the fight to be named as his child's father on the birth certificate.

Freddy McConnell, 32, who was born a woman, was battling to be registered as his baby's father or simply just 'parent' after giving birth while legally registered as a man.

The High Court ruled against his wishes on Wednesday and said his parental status had to come from the fact he gave birth to the baby, which only a 'mother' could do, according to judge Sir Andrew McFarlane.

Read more: Britain’s first transgender family reveals son, 5, is also transitioning

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PSA: Don’t read the comments ❤️ . Maybe you’re wondering how I cope with the negativity @seahorsefilm attracts. Quite simply, I ignore it. Why? Well... . One good thing about being a journalist on the internet is knowing stuff about online hate and what it really represents, both statistically and substantively. . First, everything posted online gets trolled (because that’s what pointless negativity is when you boil it down). The weather gets trolled, personal stories get trolled, cute animals get trolled! Etc etc ad nauseam. It’s the online human condition. When you remember this - that you’re not a beautiful and unique troll target - the ‘hate’ loses a lot of its sting. . Second, the haters just don’t know. They don’t know me, they almost certainly don’t know a trans person, probably no queer people and possibly no one very different from themselves at all. They probably didn’t even read or watch the thing they’re commenting on (analytics have suggested this being true most of the time). Their comments are not well informed or thoughtful. They’re deliberately mean and extreme. It’s effectively a game to them. So don’t play along. . Third, yes, they are loud and seem plentiful but in reality trolls are small in number - always a fraction of any total audience. Many many more people are watching or reading and not commenting. Many people are engaging with love and openness. Many people are softening or even changing their minds, they’re just doing so quietly. Human brains tend to focus on and remember hostility - that’s what makes trolling seem like a HUGE problem when in reality it isn’t. . Four, sharing, being vulnerable, being the example you never had - it’s still worth it, many times over. Putting yourself out there (to the extent that you want to) will help exponentially more people than it will provoke to leave a shitty, lazy comment. If I receive just half a dozen messages from people who have found my story helpful, I’m glad I shared it and I’m glad I was privileged to do so on my terms. And the truth is I’ve received countless more than that already ❤️ They get my focus. . Them, and real life ❤❤️❤️

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The President of the Family Division explained: "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'."

Read more: 'The man who gave birth' Freddy McConnell opens up about his pregnancy on This Morning

Freddy, who refers to himself as the "dad who gave birth", told his Twitter followers he was "saddened" by the court's decision and revealed his fears it could have damaging repercussions on other families.

He wrote: "I’m saddened by the court’s decision not to allow trans men to be recorded as father or parent on their children's birth certificates.

"I fear this decision has distressing implications for many kinds of families. I will seek to appeal and give no more interviews at this stage."

Read more: Barbie's parent brand Mattel has just launched a gender-neutral range of dolls

Freddy had taken action against the General Register Office, which logs births and deaths in England and Wales, to avoid being put down as a female on the document.

But following the judge's decision, he must now be officially named as the child's mother.

The Guardian journalist, who this August released a film about his journey, sought help from a sperm donor to get pregnant, although it's not known who the baby's genetic father is.

He was biologically able to carry his child and give birth, but was legally recognised as male at the time.

Read more: School boys to be told 'they can have periods too' in new transgender guidelines

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Felt so good to finally visit @broadwaycinema Nottingham, @jeaniefinlay’s home turf 💗 for a packed screening the night before broadcast (tonight 9pm, BBC2). . Even got to add my name to the side of a 35mm projector, among greats, despite being severely under qualified 😅. . Touring this film has been a privilege. Going home to my family feels like even more of one ❤️ Hope you can tune in tonight! . Ps. If you see trolls/phobes going at it on social media, please don’t tell me “don’t look at *specific thing*”. Not knowing at all is infinitely better than just not looking 😬❤️ . . . . . . . . . . . . #seahorse #seahorsedad #seahorsefilm #bbc #storyville #broadwaycinema #documentary #transdad #transfamily #transparent #gaydad #singledad #ontheroad #rainbowfamily #transman #transmenofig #thisiswhattranslookslike

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The writer campaigned against being officially named as 'mother' and argued that forcing it upon him was a breach of his human right to a private life.

Barrister Hannah Markham QC, fighting on Freddy's behalf, told the High Court judge that many kids now grow up in "rainbow families".

She explained that his child had the right to see its parent's gender "appropriately identified".

However the opposition believed the case should be dismissed because the law distinguished between a "person who gives birth" and a "person who does not".