Wife ‘didn’t realise husband was a woman’
From the Daily Mail
A transsexual whose 17-year marriage to an heiress was nullified when the wife discovered her husband was a woman is not legally a "parent" of her 14-year-old daughter born from donor sperm, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
The female-to-male transsexual, referred to in court as Mr J, is now in law a man under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and can lawfully marry a woman if he wishes.
But three appeal judges held that, because at the time of his "marriage" to Mrs C in 1977 he was still a woman, he had no parental rights.
The law required that when a woman conceived and gave birth through artificial insemination by donor (AID), the other party to the marriage must be a man in order to qualify as a parent, the judges said.
Mr J was still a woman when the child was conceived by AID in 1991 and, since there was no legal marriage, he could not be "a party" to it.
Mr J, born with gender dysmorphia, underwent hormone treatment and had breasts removed before, at the age of 30, he met and married Mrs C, then aged 20 and from a wealthy background.
He concealed his true gender from her for 17 years, using a home-made part of the anatomy for sex. At a Court of Appeal hearing in 1996, Mr J failed in a bid for a share of the marriage wealth, including a £400,000 home.
At that hearing, Lord Justice Ward described the marriage as a "travesty" and said that many people would find it quite astonishing that in 17 years of life together Mrs C did not realise she was living with a woman.
In today’s case, Mr J, now 59, failed in his bid for a declaration of parenthood, despite the fact that he now has a gender recognition certificate and a fresh birth certificate recording his birth as a male.
Lords Justices Thorpe, Wall and Richards said the highly unusual facts of the case were unlikely to recur because of changes in the law.
They ordered that neither party should be identified to protect the daughter and an elder child, also born through AID and now 18.
The judges explained that the issue of when, how and from whom the two children were to learn the truth about their origins remained highly sensitive. The mother, now remarried, has agreed to take advice from a consultant psychiatrist before explaining their background to them.