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Trans woman wins right to be recognized as child’s mother on birth certificate in landmark ruling

In 2011, the administrative court officially recognized her transition but the civil registrar refused to list two mothers on the baby's birth certificate.

Trans woman wins right to be recognized as child’s mother on birth certificate in landmark ruling
Young LGBT family spending time together - stock photo/Getty Images

A French court has recognized the rights of a trans woman to be registered as her child's mother in a landmark case. The incident happened at a court in Toulouse, southern France, where the judge ruled that the unnamed woman could be listed on the baby’s birth certificate as their mother. The case was brought to court after a civil registrar refused to list the woman as the child's mother. The landmark case is believed to be the first of its kind in France and could pave the way for many other trans parents who want to be recorded as a parent on birth certificates. “The Toulouse Court of Appeal authorizes the mention on the birth certificate of the child, of the husband who has become a woman as mother,” considering “that two maternal filiations could, in this case, be established,” said the court, reported Actu Toulouse.



The couple who brought the case to the court wished to be unnamed. They were married in 1999 and have three children together. In 2011, as per record, an administrative court officially recognized the transition of one of the partners and updated the couple's marriage certificate accordingly. When the couple had their third child in 2014, the civil registrar refused to list two mothers on the baby's birth certificate citing a French law that said two mothers could be registered in the birth certificate only in cases of adoption. The couple decided to move legally, to make provision for registering two people as mothers in other cases as well, according to PinkNews

Transgender Flag Waving Against Trees - stock photo/Getty Images


Initially, they failed as a judge ruled that it’s “impossible for two people of the same sex to be the biological parents of a child,” in 2016. The couple appealed the ruling in 2018 and a court judged that their child’s birth certificate could list a mother and a “biological parent.” It would also be the first time the category of “biological parent” would be used in France. “I have been his mother since he was born,” said the woman.

Trans woman with family - stock photo/Getty Images


France's court of cassation referred the case to the Toulouse court of appeal in 2020. The outcome of the appeal from February 9 means that both women can be listed as the kid's mother in the kid's birth certificate. The court also acknowledged that France's 2016 gender recognition laws have left an 'undeniable legal vacuum,' with it providing no provision for trans parents. The court then ruled that it was best for a child with a trans parent, or parents, to have a birth certificate that maintains their privacy and hence can record them as having two mothers or two fathers on the birth certificate. “It is in the interest of the child, it corresponds to her social truth, she has had two mothers since she was born (…) It is important that her birth certificate corresponds to her social reality”, said Nolwenn Jaffre, the lawyer for the woman.


Trans parents are yet to be recognized in many countries including the US and the UK among other countries. In the US, laws can vary from state to state. "If the couple moves to one of the many states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or similar legal statuses, a parental relationship derived from that status could be vulnerable to challenge," reads a report by the ACLU. "Transgender parents who are biologically related to their children may still be vulnerable to challenges to their legal parentage if they use assisted reproduction. Therefore, the presumption of paternity could potentially be challenged in a custody dispute." Children could be massively disadvantaged in cases where the country or state doesn't legally recognize their trans parents.

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