Friday, December 13, 2019
Home Culture Wars Giving birth makes you a mother, whatever sex you think you are

Giving birth makes you a mother, whatever sex you think you are

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THERE was one bit of good sense in the news this week. A biological woman, Freddy McConnell, who is recognised as male in law, recently gave birth. McConnell was in the news after applying to be registered as the father (not the mother) on the baby’s birth certificate. McConnell applied for a judicial review and on Wednesday it was confirmed that the case has been rejected.

In the first definition of a mother in English law, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the High Court’s Family Division, ruled that motherhood is about being pregnant and giving birth regardless of whether the person who does so is considered a man or a woman in law. He said there is a difference between a person’s gender and the biological role of giving birth, which remains that of a mother.

‘There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent. Being a “mother”, whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.

‘It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child. Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male’, their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of “mother”.’

According to the Times, McConnell, a Guardian journalist, is considering whether to appeal. I expect we will see more of this as the culture wars play out and we fight over the meaning of words.

To me, the case raises interesting philosophical questions around the whole trans debate which are pertinent to both to the purpose and integrity of the Gender Recognition Act and its proposed reform.

Currently the Gender Recognition Act requires a number of important things from a person before allowing legal gender transition. It requires you to have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. It also requires you to have lived in your preferred gender for two years. These two requirements are mentioned over and over again in the trans-gender debate. But the Act also requires this: ‘A statutory declaration that the trans person intends to live permanently in their acquired gender until death.’ See all these on page 18 of this document.

If a person, after having legally transitioned from female to male, chooses to give birth, it is surely legitimate to question the sense in which they are committed to living out their life as a male. If someone claims that their ‘inner gender’ is male, and makes the demand on society that we refer to them as ‘he’, then goes on to give birth, in what sense are they living as a man? In what sense is their ‘inner gender’ male? Is it just short hair? Trousers? I am asking this question seriously. The trans lobby ask us to take very seriously the claim that trans people have a very deep sense of being an inner gender different from their biological sex. But what is this deep inner sense if it does not cover things like using your biological sex to give birth, to become a mother, to take the primary and overwhelming responsibility of bringing a child into the world?

Douglas Murray has recently written an outstanding book about the onward march of identity politics and ‘woke’ culture, The Madness of Crowds, Gender, Race and Identity. He covers its staggeringly rapid spread through our institutions – businesses, government, media, even the Times.

Discussing McConnell on Thursday, the Times said: ‘Mr McConnell . . . was assigned female at birth but transitioned to be a man’.Assigned female at birth’. This is the completely unscientific jargon that is peddled by the trans agenda: the implication is that biologicial sex isn’t real – that doctors are mendaciously foisting a construct on innocent babes at birth.

It raises an important question. Why and when did the Times become complicit in this assault on reason and science?

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Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske is a former adviser to the New Zealand Government, served two terms as a Conservative councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham and is currently a full-time mother. She tweets as @carolinefff

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