The United Kingdom’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that a transgender man who gave birth must register as the baby’s mother, even though he has “full legal recognition as male.”
Freddy McConnell, who was born female, became pregnant using a sperm donor in 2017 and gave birth in 2018 — after he transitioned to become a man and was legally recognized as such, CNN reported. However, the Registrar General argued that McConnell must register as the child’s mother in accordance with British law, which prompted him to take legal action.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the High Court’s family division, upheld the Registrar General’s decision. McFarlane ruled that there is a “material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.” McConnell’s role in the birth was that of a parental mother even though he is legally recognized as a man.
“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,” McConnell tweeted on Wednesday. “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.”
McConnell, a journalist with The Guardian, began taking testosterone in 2013 and stopped in 2016 before becoming pregnant, according to the publication. A recent feature-length documentary captured his journey to parenthood.
“This is a film about me having a baby,” he says in the film. “But what I feel like I’m going through isn’t me having a baby, or pregnancy. It’s like a much more fundamental total loss of myself.”
This isn’t the first disappointment McFarlane has doled out to McConnell. In July, McFarlane denied McConnell’s right to anonymity, giving U.K. media permission to publish McConnell’s identity.
McConnell and his legal team hold that McFarlane’s recent ruling has “significant and far-reaching implications” for transgender people, BuzzFeed News reported.
“It is bigger than us,” McConnell told the outlet. “I will carry on fighting because this is threatening to set things back for LGBT people — as well as for society, gender, and how families are created. This slams the brakes on progress in a way that should scare people.”
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