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Trans man who gave birth Freddy McConnell will take his fight to be legally recognised as his child’s dad to the Supreme Court

Vic Parsons April 30, 2020
Freddy McConnell: Trans dad to take historic legal battle to Supreme Court

Freddy McConnell. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Freddy McConnell will take his fight to be legally recognised as his child’s father to the UK’s Supreme Court, after losing a Court of Appeal ruling yesterday.

McConnell, a trans man who gave birth to his child in 2018, has been fighting a drawn-out and highly publicised legal battle to be registered as the father or parent of his child.

He lost his historic case at the High Court last year and went on to appeal that judgment at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal ruled against him yesterday, maintaining that because he gave birth to his child he has to be registered on the birth certificate as the child’s mother.

While the Court of Appeal judgment refused him permission to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court, McConnell has confirmed that his legal team will be taking the case directly to the Supreme Court instead.

His lawyers, Laytons LLP, said in a statement that by refusing to recognise McConnell’s legal gender the law “has not kept pace”.

“Such a narrow interpretation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will force all transgender people to choose between being a parent and having full recognition of their gender,” McConnell’s lawyers said.

“Recognition of such an important facet of a person’s identity is a fight that started long ago, but [the Court of Appeal] judgement demonstrates how that fight must continue if equality in law is to be achieved.

“Our client is therefore seeking permission to appeal against this decision and intends to take the matter to the Supreme Court.”

Freddy McConnell has a Gender Recognition Certificate and is legally male.

He brought the legal case to be registered as the father of his child – a move that reflects his relationship to the child, and would also prevent him from being outed as transgender every time his child needed to use a birth certificate as proof of identity, for example when registering at school.

Had McConnell adopted his child or used a surrogate, he would have been registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate.

His lawyers argued that the law is out of date and doesn’t reflect the reality of modern families in the UK.

If McConnell wins the right to be registered as his child’s father or parent, his lawyers say the child will be the first in England without a legal mother.

And if he wins, it will pave the way for trans-inclusive, gender-neutral birth certificates in what advocacy groups argue would better reflect the growing diversity of families in the UK.

McConnell’s legal team had argued that the UK’s system of birth registration does not treat all families equally, with LGBT+ “rainbow families” treated differently by the legal system than families with heterosexual, cisgender parents.

More: court of appeal, Freddy McConnell, gender recognition act, gender recognition certificate, supreme court, trans men, trans parenting

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