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Court rules transgender man who gave birth cannot be registered as father

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Police officers outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, UK
Police officers outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, UK   -   Copyright  REUTERS

A court in the UK has ruled a transgender man who gave birth to his child cannot be registered as the father.

Freddy McConnell, a journalist at the Guardian newspaper, wanted to be recognised as the father of his son, who was born last year, on the official birth certificate.

He was told he would have to be registered as the mother.

He sought legal action to quash that decision, saying it breached his and his son’s rights but in a landmark ruling, Andrew McFarlane, President of the High Court’s Family Division, dismissed his claim and concluded that McConnell was the mother.

“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,” McFarlane said.

“Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male’, their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of ‘mother.’”

McConnell, who was registered as female at birth, transitioned to live as male when aged 22, later undergoing a double mastectomy and testosterone therapy. Official details, such as his passport and health records, were amended to show his gender as male, court papers said.

In 2016, he suspended the testosterone treatment and became pregnant after undergoing intrauterine insemination fertility treatment using donor sperm, with the baby born in January 2018.

McConnell's story was the subject of a film, Seahorse.

Read more: Trans man in the US gives birth to baby boy

McFarlane said the issue had been “most properly and bravely” raised by McConnell and was an important matter for public debate, but related more to public policy than law.

“Down the centuries, no court has previously been required to determine the definition of ‘mother’ under English common law and, it seems, that there have been few comparable decisions made in other courts elsewhere in the Western World,” he said.

Stonewall, a campaign group, called the decision "deeply dissapointing".

The organisation's Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research, Laura Russell, said in a statement: "It's another example of how the current legislation contradicts the fragile equality trans people currently have, by creating a situation where trans people can have full recognition on some legal documents, but not on others."