Historic transgender case could see baby become first who will not legally have a mother

A transgender man whose baby is at the centre of an historic human rights battle cannot yet get child benefit, a High Court judge has been told.

The baby could become the first person born in England or Wales who will not legally have a mother.

Lawyers say the baby is the child of a single parent who was born a woman but now lives as a man after undergoing surgery.

They have told judges that he had been biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but had legally become a man when the child was born.

He wants to be identified as the child’s “father” or “parent” on a birth certificate but a registrar has told him that the law requires people who give birth to be registered as mothers.

The man has taken legal action after complaining of discrimination.

He says forcing him to register as the child’s “mother” breaches his human right to respect for privacy and family life.

The case has been analysed at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and lawyers representing the man are lined up against lawyers representing the Registrar General for England and Wales and Government ministers.

A trial might not take place until next year.

Mr Justice Holman was given updates on developments on Tuesday, when he oversaw the latest hearing

Lawyers said the baby had been given a passport because British citizenship had been established.

But Ben Jaffey QC, who is representing health and social care ministers and Home Office ministers, told the judge that child benefit had not yet been granted.

Mr Jaffey said a child needed a birth certificate before child benefit could be given.

He said the child at the centre of the case had not been given a birth certificate because a judge had yet to rule on the man’s challenge.

Mr Justice Holman said the man was “taking a stand” and mounting a “head on challenge” to a “wall of legislation”.

He suggested that Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division of the High Court and most senior family court judge in England and Wales, might oversee a trial and make a decision.

The case hit the headlines in June after another judge oversaw a preliminary hearing.

Mr Justice Francis said then that the issue had never been raised in a court in England and Wales before.

The judge said if the man won his fight, ministers might have to consider changing the law.

He said the baby could not be identified in media reports and said journalists should not reveal the baby’s gender or age, or the man’s age, and should not give any clue as to where the man and the child lived.

Lawyers say other transgender men have given birth but have been registered on birth certificates as mothers.

They say if the man wins his fight the child will be the first person born in England or Wales not to legally have a mother.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved.