Transgender woman denied children’s birth certificate changes

Family Law | 27 Apr 2015 1

A transgender woman has failed to have her children’s birth certificates changed to reflect her acquired gender.

In JK, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor, the woman in question married in 2007, while she still identified as a man. The couple had a daughter in early 2012 which had been naturally conceived.

By June of that year, the woman had been diagnosed with “gender identity disorder and concomitant gender dysphoria” and began to identify as female. She changed her name to reflect this and started a course of hormone therapy.

However, before the treatment, the couple had another child. While their daughter’s birth certificate identified the biological father by her male name, their youngest child’s did not. The father was listed under her new, acquired name.

The father applied to have the birth certificates of her children changed so that she would be identified either as “parent” or “father/parent” rather than simply “father”. Her application was denied by the local registrar, who said such a change was not in their power.

In response, the woman took her case to the High Court, citing a violation of her Article 8 and Article 14 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. These state that everyone has “the right to respect for his private and family life”, and that all people should be protected from discrimination.

Sitting at the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, Mr Justice Hickinbottom said that while “gender is an important element of an individual’s fundamental identity”, how they are identified on a child’s birth certificate has little effect on their Article 8 rights. He added that if a parent was allowed to make changes to a birth certificate, it “may override the rights of the children and others (such as another parent)”.

The judge said that the woman’s assertion that her Article 14 rights had been violated “does not add anything of substance” to her objections. Therefore, he dismissed her overall claim.

To read the full judgment, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Andrew says:

      There has to be some limit on the re-writing of history, doesn’t there?

      If you change your own gender history is rewritten so that any future certificate of your birth will show your new gender; doubtful policy in my view, because the subject may sometimes need the “old” (and accurate) certificate. But changing somebody else’s certificate – that’s a bridge too far and I am glad this application failed.

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