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Transgender dad and Seahorse star Freddy McConnell loses court case

By: Eleanor Perkins eperkins@thekmgroup.co.uk

Published: 16:06, 25 September 2019

Updated: 17:48, 25 September 2019

A transgender man fighting to be named the father on his child's birth certificate has lost a High Court case.

Freddy McConnell, from Deal, carried his child and wants to be registered as father or parent on the official document.

Freddy McConnell from Deal must remain registered as the 'mother' on his child's birth certificate, a court has ruled Picture: Instagram @seahorsefilm

But a judge has ruled against him, maintaining that a person who carries and delivers a baby is always registered as the mum, even in cases of surrogacy.

Delivering the ruling today, Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said: "There is a material difference between a person's gender and their status as a parent.

"Being a 'mother', whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.

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"It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child.

"Whilst that person's gender is 'male', their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of 'mother'."

Freddy McConnell shared his story in an article in the Guardian and in a documentary aired on BBC1 Picture: Instagram @seahorsefilm

A lawyer, who represented Mr McConnell in the case against the General Register Office, has since said the law must "move with modern times".

Karen Holden, founder of A City Law Firm, said: "As a firm that champions equality, we are of course disappointed at the judgment and it highlights how the law is slow to keep up to modern society."

Had the outcome been different, it is understood Mr McConnell's child - who remains anonymous - would have been the first person born in England and Wales to legally not have a mother.

Ms Holden added: "Freddy is considering whether he wishes to appeal, and we have no instructions on that at present.

"We hope though others will pick up the chalice as well and look to bring UK law in line with other more progressive countries."

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Earlier in July, the star of BBC documentary Seahorse, also lost a court case to protect his privacy during the trial.

Mr McConnell had been living as a male for several years, including taking testosterone from the age of 25, before he sought to become pregnant.

He argued that he shouldn't be named in the media for fear he and his child could be victimised and bullied.

However, media organisations joined hands to request that order was lifted, arguing that Mr McConnell had been co-operating with a documentary about his experiences.

Seahorse, which aired this month, documents Mr McConnell's conception journey, pregnancy and birth of his child.

The film uses his real name, although there is no reference to his claim to be registered as the child’s father.

Mr McConnell had also been interviewed by the Guardian, where he also works as a multimedia journalist, where the article was published in April.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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