Trans man loses appeal to change ‘mother’ status

Mr McConnell wishes to be registered as 'father' or 'parent'

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A transgender man has lost a legal challenge over being described as “mother” on his child’s birth certificate.

Freddy McConnell was born a woman but now lives as a man following surgery. He was biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but legally became a man after the child was born.

The law requires that the person who gives birth to a child is registered as the mother, but Mr McConnell wishes to be registered as “father” or “parent”.

In September, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, concluded that people who have given birth are legally mothers, regardless of their gender.

The Guardian journalist appealed the ruling but today that challenge has also been quashed.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, sitting with two other senior judges, 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.”

Mr McConnell was not granted permission to take his case to the Supreme Court, although he may still pursue an appeal there.

Lord Burnett said it was for Parliament to decide if the law needs to change, not the courts.

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