A transgender parent in the UK is appealing a High Court decision which ruled that any person who carries and gives birth to a baby is a “mother”.
Journalist Freddy McConnell wants to be recognised as either the father or parent of his son, who he gave birth to in 2018.
However, ministers have told the Appeal Court that the ruling, made by judge Andrew McFarlane in September, should be upheld. McFarlane said that there was a: “material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.”
This decision has caused McConnell much distress according to his representative, Hannah Markham. The Guardian reported that Markham said the judge should have considered whether the current system for registering births is fit for purpose.
“In society, being a mother is a social construct and for a person who is trying to move away from those gendered terms because of their gender dysphoria, then that is an offence to their right to a private life, an offence to their being and identity,” Markham said.
McConnel said that the High Court’s decision breached his human right to respect for private and family life.
The original legal dispute began after McConnell tried to add his child’s birth to the registrar but was told he had to be recorded as his son’s “mother”. McConnell’s experience being pregnant and giving birth as a transgender parent was recorded in the film Seahorse.
Solicitor Scott Halliday argued to the Appeal Court that they had an opportunity to rectify the High Court’s previous ruling.
“The High Court decision was hugely disappointing, but the Court of Appeal offers an opportunity to accurately acknowledge the relationship between Freddy and his child, and thus for the law to be on the right side of history when it comes to transgender rights,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
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