UK High Court Judge ruled that 'mother' no longer means 'woman'

The High Court ruling has been criticised by family law experts who said it's not right that a person can be legally recognised as male in some respects and not in others.

UK High Court Judge ruled that 'mother' no longer means 'woman'

Trans father, Freddy McConnell, lost his High Court battle in which he was fighting for the right to be named as a father on the child’s birth certificate.

The multimedia journalist who works for The Guardian will not be listed as the father on his child’s legal documents.

His legal team said the courts “failed” McConnell and his family as they were left shocked by the judgement.

The child would have been the first child in England and Wales to have no mother legally is McConnell has won his case.

McConnell winning the case would have set a precedent of trans-inclusive, gender-neutral birth certificates.

McConnell is considering appealing the verdict. Speaking on Twitter, he said he was “saddened” by the result:

“I’m saddened by the court’s decision not to allow trans men to be recorded as father or parent on their children’s birth certificates.

“I fear this decision has distressing implications for many kinds of families. I will seek to appeal and give no more interviews at this stage.”

As part of the judges ruling against McConnell, the judgement included a redefinition of “Mother” as well as the following verdicts:

  • “Mother” is no longer a gendered term. “Mother” therefore does not equal “woman”.
  • Transgender people may now only be recognised in their acquired gender until they have children.
  • It may have been unlawful for McConnell to be given fertility treatment designed for women — therefore, trans people may no longer be able to access it.

The judge said, “there is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent”.

In effect, the judge has redefined motherhood.

Family law experts have criticised the judgement. Hannah Saxe and Scott Halliday at Irwin Mitchell told BuzzFeed News:

“It cannot be right that a person can be legally recognised as male in some respects, such as on a Gender Recognition Certificate, but not in others.” They said the “birth certificate should reflect the reality of their family situation. We allow individuals a legal route to acquire gender; we must not then fall short when they wish to use those rights in practice. Otherwise, why bother in the first place?”

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