A transgender man who gave birth to a child and sought to be registered as the child’s father has lost his right to anonymity in judicial review proceedings, following an application by the media.
The man, Freddy McConnell, had lived for many years as a transgender male and gave birth to a child, YY, following artificial insemination. When he attended his local register office to register the birth of his child he insisted that he should be registered as YY’s “father”. The Registrar declined his request and advised that TT could only be registered as YY’s “mother”, which prompted McConnell’s judicial review claim.
In the judicial review proceedings, McConnell and YY were anonymised. During the proceedings, it emerged that, for three years, he had been co-operating in the production of a one hour documentary film, Seahorse, which was about his desire to become pregnant and his journey through IVF treatment, conception via IUI to the birth of his child, YY. Following this development Telegraph Media Group Limited, Associated Newspapers Limited, News Group Newspapers Limited and Reach PLC applied to identify McConnell.
Granting the media’s application, the Judge, Sir Andrew McFarlane P, held that there was “genuine public interest in the question of law and human rights which lies at the centre of this case”. He found that the rights that were in play with respect to McConnell’s identification as the Claimant were not of a significantly different order to the information that he had already deliberately made freely and publicly available.
As far as YY was concerned, he did not find that the publication of the additional information, namely the fact that YY’s father was the Claimant in these proceedings, was, of itself, sufficient to engage YY’s Art 8 rights. Alternatively, any intrusion into YY’s Article 8 rights that would follow from publication of the fact that his parent had applied to be registered as ‘father’ rather than ‘mother’, was both necessary and proportionate given the public interest in the issue raised.
Gervase de Wilde of 5RB, instructed by Rachel Welsh, Head of Editorial Legal at Telegraph Media Group Limited, acted for the media applicants.
A full 5RB case report can be found here.