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Trans man hoping to fly to Sweden to give birth to second baby

Freddy McConnell wants to go to Sweden for the birth so that he can be legally recognised on the birth certificate as the baby's father

2021-10-25

Words: Alastair James; picture: Instagram/@freddy.mcconnell

A trans man is planning to fly to Sweden to deliver his second baby so that he can be recognised as the baby's father

Freddy McConnell, a single dad and freelance writer from Kent, wants to the baby delivered in Sweden because there he would be legally recognised as the father whereas here, he would be legally recognised as the mother. 

His first baby, SJ [above], four, has no birth certificate at all due to a lack of recognition for parents who are trans in the UK.

"It might actually work??"

After his mum, Esme, set up a GoFundMe page on his behalf, Freddy says he believes the plan might work. Writing on Instagram last Tuesday (19 October) Freddy said: "It might actually work??" So far more than half the target has been raised."

Speaking to Attitude, Freddy said the support had been "amazing".

"It's gone better than I could have hoped," he said, adding: "It's really encouraging because [I think] if it doesn’t start with a bang it’s really hard to keep going."

And while he admits to it feeling odd to keep posting it, Freddy says in regards to people's generosity: "It definitely restore your faith in humanity."

In the description for the GoFundMe page, his mum Esme wrote that Freddy got in touch with a father who is trans from Germany who had travelled to Sweden to give birth.

"Thanks to a law change in 2019," writes Esme, "Sweden is one of the few place in the world to recognise trans parents. The dad in Germany explained to Freddy how the experience had been positive, and how at peace he feels now, knowing that his daughter has a birth certificate that reflects her reality."

After the fundraiser was set up to raise £10,000 for travel and living costs, as well as getting the baby a passport, Freddy said his heart and mind were "racing" at the possibility of the dream becoming a reality.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Freddy McConnell (@freddy.mcconnell)

Sadly, even though Freddy is legally male, UK law leftover from the 1950s means anyone giving birth must be recognised on a birth certificate as a 'mother'. 

Following a legal battle in the UK courts to be recognised as the father to his first child, Freddy is now going to the European Court of Human Rights on the matter.

"It's still ongoing and there a couple of other cases going that will combine and hopefully make a stronger case," he explained. "But they [the ECHR] move incredibly slowly. We submitted the application to go there earlier this year and have heard nothing so far."

The experience has also been something of a learning curve for Freddy. 

"When I first discovered trans men couldn’t register as father I was shocked. All of these things I assumed were just bumped. I couldn’t believe this definition of 'mother' as being the person who gives birth comes from surrogacy regulation."

Discussing how if one woman in a lesbian relationship gives birth they are recognised as the mother, while her partner isn't, Freddy explains how odd and "archaic" the system is in the UK.

"LGBTQ families aren’t recognised equally. Some of us are recognised in some form but we aren’t [always] given that status as mother or father. The lack of up-to-date law is creating a mess for all sorts of LGBTQ families and a headache and government bodies are just making up policy as they go along."

Freddy isn't confident in this government's ability or intent to make any positive changes. He says his legal battle to be registered as his baby's father was him wanting to give the government the chance to change a "glaring" gap in the law. They haven't taken it. 

Freddy's baby is due in early 2022.

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