A transgender man has lost his legal battle to be registered as a father or parent to his child in the UK after the Supreme Court refused to consider his last resort.
Freddy McConnell, a 34-year-old freelance journalist who works for the Guardian, gave birth in 2018 after suspending hormone therapy. He had hoped to challenge an appeals court ruling this spring that motherhood is defined as being pregnant and in labor, whether the person doing so is considered a man or woman in law.
The decision not to consider her case is a blow to LGBTQ + rights activists. The case was viewed as key by the Stonewall campaign group, which hoped the law would recognize all parents “for who they are.”
McConnell began the medical transition with testosterone treatment in 2013 and, in 2014, underwent a double mastectomy. His passport and NHS records were altered to show he was male, but he retained his female reproductive system. He gave birth after stopping his hormone treatment and allowing his menstrual cycle to restart.
The High Court, in September 2019, and the Court of Appeal, in April 2020, ruled that even though he was considered a male by law and had a sex certificate to prove it, he could not appear on his child’s birth certificate as “father” or parent. McConnell had argued that this violated human rights law.
Before the Court of Appeal, Lord Burnett ruled in favor of the right of a child born to a transgender parent to know the biological reality of his birth, rather than the parent’s right to be recognized on the act of birth in his legal sex.
Burnett said the laws passed by Parliament had not “decoupled the concept of mother from sex.” He said any interference with McConnell’s rights to family life, caused by birth registration documents describing him as a mother while living as the father of her child, could be justified.
McConnell said it was “the traditional system that ignores modern families.”
Supreme Court ruling marks the end of the road for McConnell’s UK legal case, but he said he would ask the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to hear the case .
A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, the highest in the United Kingdom, said on Monday that the judges had decided not to consider the case because “the applications did not raise an arguable point of law which should be considered at this point. stadium, knowing that the cases were the subject of a judicial decision and were examined on appeal ”.
McConnell said the ruling left a “hodgepodge” of rules in place around parenting registration for LGBT people who “need a complete overhaul.”
“The birth registration law does not treat LGBT people equally at any level,” he said. “There must be a series of cases to resolve this problem or a change in the law. I feel like I’m too deep into this to stop now. I will continue to fight and ask anyone who can help to reach out. “
Nancy Kelley, Managing Director of Stonewall, said the Supreme Court’s decision was “deeply disappointing.”
“All parents, including LGBT parents, deserve to be recognized for who they are and it is incredibly frustrating that the Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to advance equality,” she said.
“Current legislation contradicts the fragile equality currently enjoyed by transgender people, where they can be fully recognized on some legal documents, but not on others. Like all parents, trans parents should be able to have their relationship with their child recognized on their child’s birth certificates. “