Legal complexities aside, gender transitioning from female to male shouldn’t mean forfeiting the right to be a parent.
Last week it was announced that Freddy McConnell had lost a high court battle to protect his privacy. McConnell is the first person to give birth who wants to be registered as the child’s father rather than its mother.
Born female, McConnell had been living as a man for several years before giving birth, transitioning from female to male. He had been taking testosterone since the age of 25, but had to stop taking it in order to get pregnant. He had been recognised as legally male before his child’s birth.
McConnell sought a judicial review after being told by the registrar that he had to be registered as the child’s mother. The review has yet to come to a decision. He is fighting to make his child the first born in England and Wales not to have a mother.
McConnell said: “All children should be able to have their legal parents correctly and accurately recorded on their birth certificates.”
His lawyer, Karen Holden, added: “Having an accurate birth certificate is vital as it stays with someone for their entire life and forms part of their identity. We took on this case to support changing a part of UK law that denies equality, creates inaccurate documentation and fails to serve multiple groups within the LGBTQ+ community.”
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And my straight husband loves me for who I am! He’s the first person to know and accept me and his nonchalant attitude about it helped me realize I didn’t need to be worried over if anyone accepted me or not because my true friends wouldn’t care either way. And that was back in 2004. Now we’re married and have kids and they have the awesome example in front of them what true love is. I’ll post more about me and my journey/things I go through throughout this month! #pridemonth2019 #pansexual #genderfluid #genderfluidparent #theythem #iamhuman
Questions of gender
The case asks several important questions on parenting in a gender fluid world. Gender is no longer fixed. Dads can now give birth. McConnell hopes his experience will help other trans men who want to carry their own child.
Should it? Some would doubtless argue that to register a birth without a mother is to ride roughshod over the laws of nature, religion and “the way things should be.” Even those who agree with the principle that gender is not necessarily be fixed at birth might argue that, should you really want to transition from female to male you should take on board everything that comes with it, including not giving birth.
We take a different view. We believe that gender fluidity is real, welcome and here to stay. The very small proportion of people who feel they are trapped in the wrong gender should be free to live the lives they want to live.
The very small proportion of people who feel they are trapped in the wrong gender should be free to live the lives they want to live
When it comes to parenting, it would go against everything that DaddiLife has been arguing for over the past three years to suggest dads can be anything other than excellent parents to their children, whether a mum is present or not. That includes those men who have transitioned from female to male. Good dads can provide everything a child needs, just as good mums can. Good parenting is not dependent on gender.
Desperate to be dads
Which brings us to the subject of dads who give birth. The first point to make is that people who have transitioned from female to male to fulfil a deep-routed biological urge, and who then reverse that process temporarily for the sake of having a child, are obviously desperate to be parents. Having that fundamental need to love, nurture and protect a child is a pretty good place to start.
And if a man legally wants to be identified as a dad on a birth certificate, despite physically giving birth, so be it. Of course changes of this kind require informed debate, but they should be informed by facts rather than bigotry.
Science and medicine will make many things possible that were once considered impossible, and we should be careful with the power that gene therapy, for example, puts at our disposable. But giving trans men and women the opportunity to be good, loving parents – dads, or mums – seems like a positive step forward.