If you are a trans parent (using the term inclusively to cover transgender, non-binary, gender diverse and other non cisgender identities), you may want to understand how any change in your legal gender will affect your legal status as your child's parent. If you are conceiving a child, you may also want to understand whether your gender identity can be appropriately reflected on his or her birth certificate i.e. whether you will be recorded as your child's mother, father or parent. UK law does not address all these issues fully and, at least at present, this may mean that you do not have the correct parental title.
The simple answer to this is yes. Section 12 of the Gender Recognition Act states: The fact that a person's gender has become the acquired gender under this Act does not affect the status of the person as the mother or father of a child.
This was intended to protect the existing legal parenthood of trans parents who have children before they change legal gender. It means that you will remain your children's legal father if you become legally female, and you will remain your children's legal mother if you become legally male.
That may not reflect how you identify your name and relationship with your child, but you will not lose any legal status or rights in respect of your children as a result of changing your legal gender. It is not possible, under the current law, for your children’s birth certificates to be changed to include your revised name or legal gender.
There is no clear provision in UK law for trans parents who conceive after having transitioned. Our view is that section 12 also applies to parents who conceive after a gender transition, enabling you to (at least) claim the parenthood status you would have had under your previous gender. In other words, if you give birth you can have the legal rights of a 'mother' (even if you are a man), and if you provide your sperm you can have the legal rights of a 'father' (even if you are a woman). While this may not give you the right title, it can be important in ensuring that you have a parental connection with your child. Although this interpretation of the law is not legally tested in the family court, we know that the UK Home Office accepts it in respect of recognising British nationality.
The law can be very complicated for trans parents in respect of whether you are a ‘mother’, ‘father’ or ‘parent’ and how you are registered on your child’s birth certificate. UK law does not currently give you the flexibility to choose:
We think there should be more flexibility in the law to allow your identity as your child's mother, father or parent to be properly recognised and recorded on legal documents, such as your child's birth certificate. We hope that this will be taken into account as part of any review of the UK's gender recognition laws.
Have we answered your question? Would you like advice on your personal circumstances?
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