Trans man Freddy McConnell is in the center of a court case that can change the course of family law | Picture: Instagram (@freddy.mcconnell)
A trans man in the UK fighting to be registered as the father on his child’s birth certificate has lost the right to anonymity during the case hearing.
Judge Andrew McFaralane lifted a reporting restriction on Freddy McConnell, 32, as the single parent involved in the case.
McConnell wants his child to be the first in Britain to not legally have a mother.
In UK family law, it’s a common practise for anonymity orders to be enforced to protect parents and their children.
But a group of British newspapers succeeded in challenging the order on the grounds of public interest.
As a result, the newspapers ― which include the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror ― are free to report the father’s identity. However, this does not extend to the child.
McConnell, from Deal, Kent, in the southeast of England, must now wait for the judge to decide whether he can be registered as a father or parent, rather than mother.
A hearing on the case was held in February. Now, the judge, president of the family division of the High Court, is expected to publish a ruling soon.
‘Urge to keep your child safe’
He told BuzzFeed News: ‘Any parent can relate to that bone-deep urge to just keep your child safe.
‘I thought that we would be anonymous the whole way through because I thought that in these cases anonymity remains in place to protect children involved in the proceedings.
‘That is my primary concern at all times. And that was the basis on which I decided to pursue the action.’
Why was anonymity lifted?
Prior to embarking on the legal case, McConnery participated in a documentary about his experience of being pregnant and giving birth as a trans man.
Shooting had wrapped-up just before the man began his battle.
But the case was expected to have concluded months before the film premiered. It didn’t.
This meant that during the protracted proceedings, a trailer for the documentary dropped, called Seahorse.
To the newspaper group, this was groundwork for an appeal against the anonymity order.
Moreover, McConnell told Buzzfeed News that he will not appeal the lift.
Transphobia in the UK has tripled across five years
A specter of statistics has haunted McConnell during his case. One that has proved to be controversial for all those involved.
Indeed, shocking figures showed that trans hate crimes have jumped 81% in the last financial year in England, Scotland, and Wales.
And as a parent, as transphobia rises, his concern for the future of his child rises with it.
‘Hostility towards trans people has never been higher in the UK,’ McConnell said.
‘It’s scary to think of all the people who might misunderstand, or believe the coverage that seeks to misrepresent what I’m trying to do as a parent.
‘If any of that fear or hostility that gets whipped up comes back to affect us emotionally and physically then that’s terrifying as a parent.’