Despite a request to keep his identity private, a trans journalist has been publicly revealed as the first trans man in the U.K. seeking to be listed as father on his child’s birth certificate.
Freddy McConnell’s employer, The Guardian, identified him publicly after the courts denied a request to keep his role in the case private.
Of course, McConnell’s story hasn’t been a secret. His personal story of becoming pregnant while transitioning and delivering a child after the government officially granted him a gender recognition certificate is the subject of the Guardian-produced documentary Seahorse.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
McConnell spoke to Out at the time about the process of becoming pregnant. He discussed then the fear of publicity impacting his life. It’s why he worked closely with filmmakers on the final product.
“As a single trans gay man pursuing adoption, I was very intimidated by that,” he said. “I felt like I could be exposed to, you know, transphobia and homophobia and gatekeeping and all sorts of things. So I just wanted to do something that I would feel more in control of.”
After the birth of his child, he asked to be listed as the father but also filed a request that the courts protect his own identity and that of his child.
Lawyers for the Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers, News Group Newspapers, and Reach PLC, aware of McConnell’s identity through other channels, asked the courts not to conceal the identity or order that it be kept private by media.
The documentary played a role in media arguments, with attorneys saying McConnell “put himself at the forefront of the debate on transgender rights,” according to The Guardian.
Attorneys for McConnell said publicly identifying him would put the child at risk of harassment, and the risk the the baby will one day “be the target of playground bullies was all too plain.”
But McConnell told The Guardian that with the decision to reveal his identity made, he hopes to use the publicity for good.
“Protecting my child has always been and will always be my number one concern. This was the purpose of the anonymity order," McConnell said. "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 continued.