In a very divided legal fight, a transgender man has been denied permission to be labelled 'father' on the birth certificate of the baby he birthed.
The intense fight has sparked a lot of interest worldwide as biology competes with modern societal views. The 'birth-giver', Freddy McConnell was biologically born a woman before changing his gender to male. McConnell became pregnant with donor sperm and carried the baby while identifying as a man.
The multimedia journalist, who works for a British newspaper called The Guardian, said that he should not be forced to be labelled as 'mother' of the child and would prefer 'father' or 'parent'. The request did not go over well in the courts and McConnell was denied his request.
During a 'High Court trial' in London last Wednesday, a ruling was made that gender and parental differences are completely different things. It was explained that although McConnell identifies as a man, his body underwent the changes required to give life to another human being- the very definition of mother.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court, explained during the trial that although "it is now medically and legally possible for an [individual's] gender [to be] recognized in law as male, their parental status...derives from their biological role in giving birth."
McConnell's lawyer, Karen Holden, founder of A City Law Firm, strongly disagreed and is looking into an appeal. She says that the decision "highlights how the law is slow to keep up to modern society" and that if he is allowed to change his own birth certificate to reflect his gender, he should be able to change his own child's. Holden also argues that the birth certificate "will be factually and legally inaccurate under current rules."
McConnell explains in a documentary, Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, that this wouldn't be an issue if more men gave birth. Lawyers on the opposing side argued that the child would be the first born in England and Wales to not have a 'mother'. They also brought to attention that other transgender males who have birthed children have been labelled as the mother.
The case which has been going on for the past three years is probably not over yet.