Judge was right to rule transgender man, 34, who gave birth should be described as ‘mother’ on the child’s birth certificate, government ministers argue
- Transgender man says forcing him to register as mother breaches human right
- Guardian journalist Freddy McConnell wants to be registered as father or parent
- Other transgender men who have given birth have been described as ‘mothers’
- Mr McConnell has launched an appeal after he last year lost a High Court fight
A judge was right to rule that a transgender man who has given birth should be described as ‘mother’ on a birth certificate, Government ministers have said.
Freddy McConnell, a multimedia journalist who works for The Guardian, wants to be registered as ‘father’ or ‘parent’.
He says forcing him to register as the child’s ‘mother’ breaches his human right to respect for private and family life. Last year he lost a High Court fight.
Freddy McConnell, a multimedia journalist who works for The Guardian, wants to be registered as ‘father’ or ‘parent’. Lawyers say that if Mr McConnell wins his fight, the child would be the first person born in England or Wales not to legally have a mother
Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and most senior family court judge in England and Wales, ruled against him in September.
He concluded that people who had given birth were legally mothers, regardless of their gender, and said there is a ‘material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent’.
Mr McConnell has launched an appeal. Three appeal judges are analysing arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London.
Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice and most senior judge in England and Wales, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh began to oversee the hearing on Wednesday.
Freddy McConnell, above, featured in the documentary film Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth. Other transgender men have given birth but have been registered on birth certificates as mothers
Lawyers representing the Registrar General plus ministers in the Home Office and Department of Health and Social Care told the judges on Thursday that Mr McConnell’s appeal should be dismissed.
Ben Jaffey QC, who is leading the Government legal team, said rules applying to birth registration are ‘a sophisticated and interlocking scheme’.
‘They reflect a careful balancing of competing interests of parents, children and society by Parliament,’ he said, in a written argument.
‘A balance is struck between maintaining accurate public records, and providing individuals with the means to maintain confidentiality about disclosures that may affect their family life.
Judges have heard that Mr McConnell is a single parent who was born a woman but now lives as a man following surgery. Mr McConnell had been biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but had legally become a man when the child was born
‘Any scheme that is adopted also has to be relatively straightforward and coherent so that it can be applied to all cases. A scheme will not satisfy everyone.’
He added: ‘The UK statutory scheme recognises that birth registration is not always a matter of biological descent.
‘Further, the birth certificate often does not reflect the social reality in which a child lives. This was understood by Parliament.
‘But the scheme always ensures that a record is made of the identity of the person who gives birth to a child.
‘And where the scheme does not record biological parentage, it also makes provision for a child to know about his or her family history when he or she reaches adulthood.’
McConnell is pictured above outside the High Court at a previous hearing
Lawyers say that if Mr McConnell wins his fight, the child would be the first person born in England or Wales not to legally have a mother.
Other transgender men have given birth but have been registered on birth certificates as mothers.
Judges have heard that Mr McConnell is a single parent who was born a woman but now lives as a man following surgery.
Mr McConnell had been biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but had legally become a man when the child was born.
He wanted to be registered as father or parent but a registrar told him that the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers.
Mr McConnell had taken legal action against the General Register Office, which administers the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales.
Source: Read Full Article