Trans Parents Grappling with Gendered Regulations of Parental Status: Anyone Coping Better than Others?

Parenthood tends to be regulated along binary, conventional, gender categories. Parents are either (legal) mothers or (legal) fathers in most jurisdictions. Static legal notions of motherhood and fatherhood are increasingly at odds with the fluidity of motherhoods and fatherhoods on the ground. A trans man can give birth to his child, thus undertaking what is conventionally understood as the reproductive role of mothers, whilst being legally man and seeking to be legally recognised as his child’s father. Similarly, a trans woman might contribute sperm to the conception of her child, yet demanding to be designated as her child’s legal mother in accordance with her gender identity. Drawing on recent case-law around the issue of trans parenthood, this presentation addresses two questions: to what extent these cases succeed in redefining conventional notions of motherhood-fatherhood; whether this redefinition has come to benefit some parents – mothers or fathers – more than others.