Reputation Update: High Court removes anonymity for transgender father

Posted: August 22, 2019

The High Court has granted an application to remove anonymity granted to the first transgender man in the UK to give birth to a child and attempt to be registered as the father.   The application was made jointly by the Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers, News Group Newspapers and Reach PLC, who sought the variation of the anonymity order so that the claimant (referred to as “TT”) might be identified, but the anonymity of the child (referred to as “YY”) would be preserved.

The underlying claim was a judicial review brought by TT challenging the Registrar General’s decision to refuse to register him as YY’s father.  TT had been granted a gender recognition certificate prior to the birth of his son, and therefore TT was legally male at the time of YY’s birth.

Before judgment was handed down in the proceedings, it came to light that TT had appeared and been named in a documentary about his journey to have a child, culminating in YY’s birth, which had been shown at festivals and was to be shown on the BBC.

The judge found that TT’s Article 8 rights were outweighed by the media’s Article 10 rights because TT had already made public similar information to that which was covered by the order, the level of intrusion from negative publicity was likely to be low, and there was a real public interest in naming TT, which would be enhanced by linking the proceedings to the documentary film.  It was relevant that the circumstances surrounding the case were generated entirely by TT’s own actions, in contrast to almost all previous cases.

YY’s own Article 8 rights were not enough to maintain TT’s anonymity.  Information about YY’s parentage was already in the public domain due to the documentary.  Any direct impact on him from public knowledge of the proceedings was likely only to arise later in his life, and even then it would not add to the level of harm stemming from public knowledge of the facts surrounding his birth.

Thomas Moore, Associate, Simkins LLP