Freddy McConnell’s battle with biology

If you give birth to a child, you are its mother. Full stop.

Joanna Williams

One thing coronavirus teaches us is that biology is real. Covid-19 doesn’t stop and check how you feel before infecting your body. It doesn’t politely ask about your pronouns before making you sick. It doesn’t care about your gender identity, but it does have regard for biology.

All around the world, in every age group, almost twice as many men as women have died from coronavirus. Whether this is down to genes, hormones or lifestyle is still not known. Still, there has been far more concern expressed about women taking on a greater share of housework than the fact that men are more likely to die. Transgender activists might still bang on about social constructs and gender identity, but in killing so many more men than women, coronavirus exposes the lie that ‘babies are born without sex’.

In case we needed further confirmation, the Court of Appeal this week reminds us that not only are babies born male or female, they are also born to adult females, also known as ‘mothers’. The judges were ruling in the case of Freddy McConnell, the transgender man who took advantage of her fully functioning woman’s body in order to get pregnant and give birth, but now insists the world buys into the lie that she is the baby’s father and not its mother. McConnell wants her child’s birth certificate to list her as ‘father’ or just ‘parent’, and for the section labelled ‘mother’ to be left blank or erased entirely.

First the case failed at the High Court. Now Appeal Court judges have also ruled against McConnell. They confirmed that birth certificates should name the woman who gave birth to a child as its mother. McConnell, determined that trans parents should have ‘legal recognition’, now plans to take her case to the Supreme Court.

One of the Appeal Court judges noted that the requirement for McConnell to be named as mother ‘did not violate his rights to private and family life’. This is an important point. In the context of our private and family life we know that being a mum or a dad involves far more than just the bare facts of conception and birth. Biological parents, step-parents and adopted parents all have in common a relationship with a child built on love and a desire to care and nurture. Sometimes this is shown in the practicalities of feeding, clothing and looking after a child. Sometimes it’s a deep emotional connection that endures despite physical separation. The words mother and father take on a special significance in the context of our own families, even as they simultaneously carry a public legal and biological meaning.

What it means to be a mother has always been about far more than simply getting pregnant and giving birth. Motherhood no longer closes other possibilities to women in a way it once did. Likewise, access to contraception and abortion means that for many women getting pregnant no longer simply happens: babies are expected to fit into our lives rather than the other way round.

All these changes open up the discussion of what it means to be a mother. This is a good thing – there shouldn’t just be one script every woman is expected to follow. But when absolutely everything is called into question, when it can no longer even be assumed that a mother is a female parent, still less that mothers love and care for their children, then motherhood is rendered meaningless. It becomes nothing more than yet another identity or a job title connoting a series of administrative and practical tasks that can be readily apportioned to others.

McConnell is free, like every other parent, to dress, act and ask her child to call her whatever she likes. But the demand that she is named as ‘father’ on her child’s birth certificate is a demand for public recognition that biology is bogus and gender identity is all that matters. McConnell wants to draw the state, and the British public, into a conspiracy to lie about her child’s existence. Erasing facts from the public record would deny children the opportunity to learn the truth about who they are and how they arrived in the world. It suggests that biology, the facts of your birth, are insignificant details.

As coronavirus reminds us, biology can be a bitch. Some women desperately want to have children but find their bodies conspire against them. Some women absolutely do not want to have a baby but get pregnant and face difficult choices. And no matter how strongly you might identify as a man, if your body is female and you do get pregnant and give birth then you are a mother. It takes an unimaginable degree of narcissism not only to deny biology and have a baby while identifying as a man, but also to then attempt to write out of your child’s record the fact that you gave birth to them. As Freddy McConnell seems intent on pursuing this legal battle still further, we can only hope the Supreme Court judges continue to maintain a grip on reality.

Joanna Williams is a spiked columnist and director of the think tank, Cieo.

Picture by: Getty.

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Mark Houghton

4th May 2020 at 10:52 am

Poor Freddie. If she had a pair of artificial Donkey ears grafted on her head would she then claim to be an ass?

Liberty Wolf

4th May 2020 at 2:03 am

Gender Dysphoria should be considered a medical condition. For years, people like myself, trans people who understand we need a diagnosis to get treatment, have been fighting the battle to keep it in the DSM. The fringes were against keeping it in the DSM and apparently they are winning. Bad news. This has been an internal battle in the trans world, so to speak, for at least two decades. In the USA, where I live, and elsewhere, we’ve been arguing about this among ourselves. I don’t care if they call it a mental health condition or a “medical condition”, just keep it in. Again, no diagnosis, no medical treatment. Transsexuals actually fought for decades previous to have gender dysphoria taken seriously and made into a diagnosis. This is why I am so alarmed and upset that this is changing. I’m not alone among other transsexuals. But — people are loony these days, IMHO. We have too many leftist social justice types, who often think “transsexual” is a dirty word, trying to do things like get rid of the diagnosis. Yes, “transsexual” is a dirty word now and “transgender” is the thing, or better yet, “non-binary trans” etc. I don’t believe gender is a social construct. We need a diagnosis to get the medicine we need to change our sex and the surgery — or we did in the past. It kept us safe with people who were ethical and not in it for the money — to butcher freaks. Without the diagnosis there is less protection and less legal framework to insure quality care. (obviously you can’t change genetic sex but you can change the expression of secondary sexual characteristic over time with hormone treatment) Unfortunately this is not the most popular idea now, keeping the diagnosis, and the SJW lefty crowd is all in on changing it. Many of them are not even trans. Anyway, that’s my rant. Just sayin’…

Liberty Wolf

4th May 2020 at 1:52 am

This is a hard one for me personally, as I am also a trans man, though not part of any “trangender ideology”. I’m afraid I’m a bit old fashioned about this and think that really, it would be better to not try and have children, if you change your sex. For this guy to do what he did, to have a child, he had to stop taking testosterone, the male hormone, for at least a year. Some of us can’t have children after taking testosterone for many years, but it depends on any number of factors – age for one. Also, how long have we been taking testosterone? But no matter what you have to stop. Otherwise, he could not conceive. You can’t conceive a child while you are taking high doses of testosterone. Our testosterone as men who have transitioned medically, is in the male range. We don’t have a menstrual cycle. So, he would have to stop. This was a clear decision. I understand wanting to reproduce, but everything has a cost. Possibly he should have done so before transition, or — he should just suck up the consequences and put “mother” on the birth certificate. It’s a birth certificate. His daughter will know who he is, that he is her biological mother, and that he lives his life as a man and has transitioned medically to a male body and life. (yes that’s not a “perfect” change but he didn’t paste on the moustache, it grew out of his face and he had to make a special effort to get pregnant, quit taking male hormones) I think this is just part of taking on having a child. I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t have an overriding desire to have children and certainly having a child, getting pregnant with one, would have made me feel less a man and would frankly – that’s not what I wanted to do. I have zero desire to carry a child in my body and be a mother . Most men like me feel like this. Most men feel like this.
Now, obviously some don’t, but instead of calling attention to themselves, maybe they should just live with all the consequences of their decision– be the “mother” on the birth certificate. Otherwise, don’t quit taking male hormones and don’t get pregnant.

I find this type of person embarrassing and wish they would just do what they do quietly, and not make their personal decisions a social justice mission. Keep the birth certificate as “mother” — it’s not a secret anyway, obviously.

Floriana Sande

2nd May 2020 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for reporting this using the correct pronouns. This woman’s ‘gender identity’ was so immutable that one day she decided to prove her manly ‘feelings’ by getting pregnant – just like a real man does; by a sperm donor – just how a real man does it. She’s a ‘man’ but didn’t use her own sperm. She had healthy breasts removed beforehand to ensure breast-feeding was impossible. I heard that the judge said she was shirking her maternal responsibilities by denying she was the child’s mother – nicely put, your honour. The confused child would have asked, “If I never had a mother, how was I born, Muddy?” or, “I must have had a mother, so who was she, Dummy?” To say biology is not real is to say YOU are not real; that you do not exist as a human. Having dehumanised themselves, these people then claim to have human rights. Doubtless if the Supreme Court doesn’t give in to her, she will have to take her ‘case’ to the Court of Unhuman Rights where she hopes they deal with non-biological people.

john larkin

3rd May 2020 at 9:33 am

In reproduction, the mammal which gestates the young in its womb, is what biologically defines a mother, and this fundamental is unalterable; any nurture, natural feeding, or even subsequent involvement with the resultant offspring, or any other consideration is irrelevant

Beth MacMillan

30th April 2020 at 10:57 pm

I cannot even imagine the level of selfishness it takes for someone, who had just given birth to a child “he” is responsible for can waste the time with the courts over this non-issue. It’s almost like “he’s” more important than the child itself. The self-absorption of people like this is absolutely a mental illness, one that society is actually indulging and even celebrating.

steven brook

30th April 2020 at 6:40 pm

“lie about her child’s existence” be careful or you’ll get a visit from the boys in blue asking you politely to check your thinking .

Ellen Whitaker

30th April 2020 at 6:11 pm

I don’t understand why Freddie McConnell is stressing out about this. It’s easy. Just repeat, 100 time upon arising and before going to bed: Men can be mothers; men can be mothers, men can be mothers …

In Negative

30th April 2020 at 5:42 pm

“One thing coronavirus teaches us is that biology is real. ”

Oh, I don’t know about this. Let’s try this as a fun hypothesis:

Quantum physics gives good reason to believe consciousness plays a significant part in the creation of reality. So, for a superposition to collapse and a state of affairs to adhere, there must be a consciousness to observe and collapse the state.

Let’s start to say then that what we observe as a genetic code is subject to the same kinds of rules. That there must be consciousness to collapse any particular gene-state. In what sense then is biology ‘real’? A new virus perhaps comes about as a result of a new state of consciousness, a new set of collective expectations. Why not? Ditto for sex and gender.

Perhaps a virus only exists in a collective mind that believes in viruses and programmable natural states? Ditto for sex and gender.

Biology is in no way proven to be real. It’s a reasonable suspicion, but there are good reasons to be skeptical.

Tim Knight

4th May 2020 at 3:41 pm

So let us all stop observing this pesky virus and it will go?
But then again who says we are free to chose what we observe or not, and if not what reality governs our observations?

Dominic Straiton

30th April 2020 at 3:40 pm

Lying on a legal document is fraud. Simple.

Highland Fleet Lute

30th April 2020 at 2:48 pm

“As coronavirus reminds us, biology can be a bitch.”



30th April 2020 at 3:17 pm

What does that mean in the English language, bitch?

Highland Fleet Lute

30th April 2020 at 9:16 pm

What? Zenobia Palmyra?


I’ll have to go and consult my medical dictionary.

Jane 70

30th April 2020 at 2:12 pm

What is so worrying see Spiked’s article here:

is that it might soon become illegal for those of us who maintain, based on biological evidence, that there are but 2 sexes, male and female, to say so, or even think so.

Females give birth. Mothers and fathers have equally important and complementary roles to play in rearing children.

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