A transgender man who is currently fighting to be named the father of a child he gave birth to last year has lost a high court appeal to keep his identity secret amid his historic legal battle.
Freddy McConnell, a 32-year-old British journalist at the Guardian, had previously applied to have his and his child’s names kept out of public domain, a request that was ultimately denied this week following multiple appeals filed by several major publications.
McConnell initially won the right to anonymity during a 2018 preliminary hearing but ended up losing the privilege after opposing lawyers argued that the new parent’s decision to be featured in a documentary film called “Seahorse” about his transition and pregnancy was “self-generated publicity” and meant other journalists should also be allowed to use his name while reporting on the case, according to Sky News.
The new father had initially sought anonymity in fears he or his child could be victimized or bullied as a result of the ongoing litigation, the Guardian reports.
“Protecting my child has always been and will always be my number one concern,” McConnell told the Guardian, following the court ruling. “This was the purpose of the anonymity order. Now that my anonymity has been lifted, I embrace the opportunity to draw focus on to the need for equality in this area of the law. All children should be able to have their legal parents correctly and accurately recorded on their birth certificates.”
McConnell, who legally transitioned from female to male in 2018, just before giving birth, realized he was transgender in 2010 at the age of 23 and started testosterone treatments.
In 2016, McConnell, who had previously undergone chest reshaping surgery but decided to keep his womb, stopped taking hormones in order to conceive a child with a sperm donor after seeking help from a fertility clinic. His period returned and he successfully became pregnant in 2017.
Prior to attending the fertility clinic, McConnell had applied for a gender recognition certificate, a document issued by Parliament that shows a person has satisfied the criteria for legal recognition of their gender identity.
McConnell’s certificate was granted before he had his child, meaning he was legally a male when he gave birth. However, the Guardianreports that when the new parent tried to register himself as his baby’s father, he was told he could only register as the mother.
His legal team has argued that the UK’s birth registration system does not treat transgender parents equally if it can force them to register under terminology that does not correspond with their gender identities.
A court will decide whether or not McConnell will be allowed to be called the child’s father later this week.