By Jonathon Van Maren
In September of last year, I covered the story of a transgender person — a biological female identifying as male and referring to herself as Freddy McConnell — fighting to force the government to allow her to register as the father of her child rather than the mother. McConnell used a sperm donor to get pregnant, and the BBC covered this “pregnant man” in a documentary titled Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth. McConnell had been “transitioning,” but paused her hormone treatment in order to carry her child and give birth.
McConnell, a 34-year-old freelance journalist, did the media rounds to promote her campaign. Unsurprisingly, she found unfailing support in the press corps. She now looks male, sporting a thin red goatee, a mustache, and a finely featured face. If you didn’t know she was a woman, you wouldn’t guess — which is why her TV interviews are so effective. She looks like a normal male, and so the next step is to persuade audiences that she is a male — and the father of the child she gave birth to.
For now, at least, McConnell has lost her case. According to The Guardian (where, not incidentally, she works), the U.K. supreme court has declined to hear her final appeal on the case. McConnell had “hoped to challenge an appeal court ruling this spring that motherhood is defined as being pregnant and giving birth regardless of whether the person who does so was considered a man in law,” and the court’s decision not to consider the case “is a blow for LGBTQ+ campaigners. The case was seen as key by the campaign group Stonewall, which hoped that the law would recognise all parents ‘for who they are.’”