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Mermaids story in the Sunday Times today

(101 Posts)
EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Sun 08-Oct-17 09:11:28

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mermaids-uk-charity-ban-as-boy-forced-to-live-as-girl-dvx3j99cn?shareToken

A taxpayer-funded transgender charity has been banned by the High Court from any contact with a family after the mother, who was being advised by the group, forced her seven-year-old son to live as a girl.

The latest accounts for Mermaids UK, published last week, reveal it has been granted £35,000 by the Department for Education (DfE) and a total of £138,000 by the national lottery’s Awards for All fund and the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

It can also be revealed that until last week Mermaids was advertising “same day” cross-sex hormone treatment for children. NHS guidelines do not allow the treatment, which causes irreversible bodily changes and can compromise fertility, for anyone under 16.

In a court case, reported last year, Mr Justice Hayden removed the seven-year-old child, known as “J”, from his mother after finding she had caused him “significant emotional harm” and “pressed [him] into a gender identification that had far more to do with his mother’s needs and little, if anything, to do with his own”.

Social services had declined to act against the woman, saying she had “appropriately taken on board support from . . . Mermaids”. However, the judge accused social workers of “summarily disregarding” many concerns expressed by police and healthcare professionals about J because they “did not wish to appear to be challenging an emerging orthodoxy in such a high-profile issue”.

J was home-schooled and was dressed in girls’ clothes, the judgment found. After being removed from his mother, sent to live with his father and sent to school, he had “assert[ed] his own masculine gender” and lived life as a boy.

At the time, Mermaids attacked the “horrific decision”, insisted J wanted to be a girl and said there was “no evidence at all to support this judge’s views”.

Yet in separate Facebook posts it has now emerged that the charity admitted it had been “ordered to have nothing to do with this child following their removal”.

Until last Friday the youth section of the Mermaids website featured a message from Dr Birgit Möller, a Hamburg-based doctor, offering fast-track trans-sex hormone treatment for children. “If the families are interested we would set up a long evaluation appointment at our clinic (3-4 hours) and afterwards an appointment with the endocrinologist [hormone specialist],” Möller wrote. “In case of an indication for hormone treatment he would prescribe it the same day.”

The message was removed after The Sunday Times asked Mermaids about it.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, a website for parents questioning the diagnosis and treatment of children as transgender, said: “I am concerned that Mermaids is indoctrinating children, scaring parents into thinking that [gender] transition is the only way and intimidating professionals.”

The DfE said it did not fund Mermaids directly but as one of 13 “partner” groups in an anti-bullying alliance.

Mermaids claimed last night that it was not the subject of the court order and that it was the family that had been ordered to have no contact with it.

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Sun 08-Oct-17 09:13:26

And for balance, Mermaids' response:

Mermaids was recently approached by a journalist looking to run an article on the charity, which was clear from the questions posed, was to be a ‘smear campaign’, looking for another sensational headline about transgender children.

The ‘news’ article which was published today (8/10/17) in the Sunday Times, references Mermaids financial accounts, a story from over a year ago, and one of numerous documents on the Mermaids website.

The ‘news’ story headline references a court case from over a year ago, where a young trans girl was tragically removed from her mother and was covered extensively in the national media at the time. Several months prior to the judgement, Mermaids was informed by the mother that the judge had ordered that her child was no longer allowed to access support from Mermaids. While we have followed this request, Mermaids has never received any legal notification or court order supporting this statement and no ‘ban’ has ever been issued.

The Facebook post referenced in the article, dates back to October 2016, and was posted by Mermaids immediately following the court judgement. This post has been in the public domain for over a year and has already been viewed by over 49,000 people. We continue to stand by the comments made in the post, and maintain that the outcome was tragic for all concerned. There has been no further progress on the case since that time, so we question the relevance in reporting on it as an ‘emerging’ piece of information.

Mermaids primary source of income is through grants and funding bids. While it is true that Mermaids receives funding from the Department of Education and the Children in Need, the charity receives no direct funding from the UK taxpayer.

The Department of Education funding allows us to deliver essential training in schools to address homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. This desperately needed training was highlighted in the 2017 Stonewall School Report, which uncovered shocking statistics about the treatment of transgender pupils in schools. With 51% of trans pupils being bullied, one in ten receiving violent threats, 84% of trans kids self-harming, and 45% attempting suicide, this training is crucial.

Similarly, with demand for Mermaids services increasing; as illustrated by the increase in phone calls and emails to Mermaids helplines from 400 in 2013/14 to nearly 4,000 in 2016/17, the Children in Need funding is essential to ensuring that Mermaids can answer the immediate need when vulnerable young people and desperate parents are reaching out for help.

Lastly, the statement that Mermaids was ‘advertising’ same-day cross sex hormones is misleading. On approaching Mermaids for a quote for this article, the journalist highlighted that there was an email within the ‘resources’ section of the Mermaids website from a German doctor called Birgit Moller. We confirmed that the email was actually out of date, as the doctor no longer practiced in the clinic mentioned, and removed the document accordingly.

Mermaids is not, and has never claimed to be, an advisory body. Whilst Mermaids provides information on treatment pathways, legislation, and research in both the UK and other countries, the charity does not promote or recommend that individuals pursue any specific medical treatments or procedures. If young people and families need professional medical advice, the only organisation that Mermaids refers them to is the NHS Gender Identity Service. Mermaids does not coerce anyone into following any particular treatment path, bus simply provides information and support.

We are dismayed to note that while we informed the journalist of all of the above facts, they have chosen to publish a misleading and defamatory article. While we appreciate that there is currently an interest by the media in transgender children, we find it wholly unacceptable to publish a ‘news’ story undermining the only charity supporting them for the benefit of column inches. We also question, again, the practice by mainstream media of publishing quotes from unqualified sources with an agenda to undermine the validity of transgender people, and transgender children in particular. Mermaids is happy to engage in conversation with individuals and organisations with a legitimate interest in supporting gender-questioning and transgender youth.

All of us engaged with gender diversity and supporting gender-questioning and transgender children are familiar with negative reactions based on ignorance, fear and prejudice. This makes it even more important that the UK media report on this subject in a truthful and non-sensationalised manner.

While Mermaids has been recognised by, and received numerous awards from respected institutions, the impact of such negative reporting has a direct impact on the families and young people we support and vulnerable youth that may be seeking support in the future.

Mermaids will continue to offer much needed support to families and young people, and to provide education and guidance to organisations and professionals, and maintain our objective to strive towards making the world a fully accepting and inclusive place for gender non-conforming and transgender children and young people.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 08-Oct-17 09:16:45

The stats are from here (someone asked on other thread)

www.stonewall.org.uk/school-report-2017

Ktown Sun 08-Oct-17 09:23:58

Sounds like the judge noted a case of child abuse and acted upon it.
In 20s years time there will be a few massive pay outs by the state for not protecting children when we all knew this was going on.
Adults can do what they like, but pre-pubescent kids? I'd be looking at what they are accessing on the internet and also what their parents are teaching them about sexist stereotypes.

Neverknowing Sun 08-Oct-17 09:32:09

It's disgusting. Children should not be given hormones In this way AT ALL. I am not anti trans people but these are children?!
They don't know themselves yet and honestly at that age I may have thought I was meant to be a man especially with all the trans media at the moment. I was speaking to my mum's partner about this and she said as a child she definitely would have transitioned given the chance as she was a tomboy and people called her a boy.
This is so damaging.
Feel free to express as any gender you want but as a child you have a lot of thoughts going on. As a teen you have lots of hormones going on and you feel unaccepted and 'wrong' most of the time anyway so lots of people are going to make life altering mistakes before they really know themselves?! Its too much.

MillicentFawcett Sun 08-Oct-17 09:53:14

About time that Mermaids have been exposed for being the agenda-pushing pressure group they really are.

The statistics that Stonewall collated are about all LGBT teens. What I find astonishing is that all the quotes I've seen used from that study completely ignore the ones about LGB kids. No one cares about them. sad

And where is the evidence that Mermaids is doing any good at all? Presumably their intervention and support should alleviate the mental distress of TG youth but it doesn't seem to be having that effect does it?

DamnDeDoubtanceIsSpartacus Sun 08-Oct-17 10:56:54

Groups like this promote transgenderism, they create a problem then offer to solve it. They reframe autism as trans, they reframe other mental health issues as trans. This does not help the very few children that are genuinely disphoric.

KittiesInsane Sun 08-Oct-17 11:33:09

With 51% of trans pupils being bullied, one in ten receiving violent threats, 84% of trans kids self-harming, and 45% attempting suicide

That worries me hugely. I would like to see the evidence that it is their transgender nature or status that causes transgender teenagers to self-harm, rather than the other way round. In other words, do anxious, stressed, self-harming, bullied children have more of a tendency to latch on to the idea of being the wrong sex?

Binding, cross-sex hormones, sterilization and amputations seem a further form of self-harm to me.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 08-Oct-17 12:06:52

That worries me hugely.

I would like to see the methodology and questions asked - for some reason this is missing from the methodology section of the report

pisacake Sun 08-Oct-17 12:27:55

Mermaids are best chums with Paris Lees.

The head of Mermaids flew her son to US for trans treatment at age 12 and then at age 16 to Thailand for full sex reassignment surgery www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2089432/Jackie-Green-worlds-youngest-sex-change-op-16-says-I-want-Miss-England.html, because the NHS would not undertake the extreme treatments she wanted. (But if you mention this fact in anything other than glowing positive terms you will be accused of a hate crime and reported to the police.

www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/27/police-investigate-online-abuse-charity-transgender-children-mermaids)

They try to stifle and silence debate by claiming that criticism is hate crime.

They are dangerous, very dangerous, yet they are cited in Parliament as some sort of neutral, reliable authority. www.feministcurrent.com/2016/10/26/lobby-groups-like-mermaids-dictate-policy-discourse-around-gender-identity-kids-lose/

theendisnotnigh Sun 08-Oct-17 12:32:28

And Mermaids have apparently received funding from the DfE. I wonder how they have justified that!

pisacake Sun 08-Oct-17 12:33:57

Interestingly despite this woman campaigning for hormones for pre-teens, the outcomes in terms of passing as a woman for the child who took hormones at 12 and full surgery at 16 don't seem any better than those who do it later in life - very masculine looking face, tall, etc.

TheQuestingVole Sun 08-Oct-17 12:44:18

If receiving money from the DfE, a central govt department, isn't being directly funded by the taxpayer then I don't know what is.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 08-Oct-17 12:51:23

Re the survey methodology I found this :

www.transgendertrend.com/stonewall-school-report-what-does-suicide-rate-mean/

OddBoots Sun 08-Oct-17 12:59:39

I didn't know they got money from Children in Need, that certainly puts me off fundraising for them any more.

drspouse Sun 08-Oct-17 13:02:20

That's very confusing but if I understand correctly it's very worrying.

Butterymuffin Sun 08-Oct-17 13:04:51

That does put me off donating to Children in Need. I will need to look for an alternative.

AssignedPerfectAtBirth Sun 08-Oct-17 13:10:54

I don't think it's fair to dump Children in Need but it's worth informing them of the facts re Mermaids

pisacake Sun 08-Oct-17 13:15:44

The finances are quite interesting.

Susie Green is the mother who gave her son trans surgery age 16. Since 2016 she has got a salary from her charity. www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/mermaids-trustees.html

That charity is funded by:

apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends75/0001160575_AC_20170331_E_C.pdf
Children in Need £128k over 3 years (4/2016)
Leathersellers £40k over 4 years (5/2016)
Awards for All £10k (National Lottery) 1 year (7/2016)
D for Ed £35k 2.5 years (10/2016)

So she is paid, out of public funds, to validate her own extreme decisions for her son.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 08-Oct-17 13:23:50

Not a penny of mine will go to Children in Need while they fund Mermaids.

I read the full judgement on that very difficult and sad case mentioned above when it first became public last year. It's probably still available online. I am not a lawyer and was pleasantly surprised how clear it was and how accessible to the average person. I was left in no doubt at all that the judge came to the right decision and that the involvement of Mermaids had not been helpful in the slightest.

Fourth Wave Now is a terrific website campaigning tirelessly on the issue of children and teenagers identifying/being identified by their parents as transgender. So many of them have pre-existing conditions, such as Asperger's, anorexia, clinical levels of anxiety and depression, self-harming. A lot of them would undoubtedly eventually have come out as gay if left to work through this alone. Anecdotally, it seems a lot of transgender teenagers detransition in their early 20s.

I wonder how long before we start seeing lawsuits from the detransitioned against their healthcare providers, parents and organisations like Mermaids who told them there was no alternative to this irreversible medical treatment.

Male to trans are the ones getting all the attention as (imagine this hmm) they are often very vocal and assertive, not to mention aggressive.

But actually in the UK the referrals to transgender clinics are mostly girls wanting to become boys. Life is not easy for teenage girls in this porn-saturated world, and it's not hard to see why some think transitioning may make things better. There is huge peer pressure in some circles. I find this dreadfully sad. Teenage girls having double mastectomies and taking testosterone to deepen their voices and produce facial hair, then by 21 or so realising that they actually can cope with being a woman, but they are stuck with the deep voice and beard.

OlennasWimple Sun 08-Oct-17 13:23:55

I would love Mermaid to explain how they are working to end homophobic and biphobic bullying, given that much of the TRA agenda is exactly that ("suck my lady dick lesbians!")

nauticant Sun 08-Oct-17 13:30:32

And Mermaids have apparently received funding from the DfE. I wonder how they have justified that!

1) The Secretary of State at the DfE is Justine Greening. Expect to see more validation of Mermaids.

2) www.economist.com/news/britain/21729997-new-policies-tuition-fees-and-housing-aim-close-gap-labour-tories-make

MillicentFawcett Sun 08-Oct-17 13:31:31

That's a really great takedown @ItsAllGoingToBeFine

Gasp0de - the judgement is indeed still online: www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2016/2430.html

If any of you haven't read it yet, I really urge you to. It's extremely clearly written as Gasp0de says and a really shocking indictment of Mermaids. I would like them to be stripped of their charitable status as I don't believe they are for public benefit at all. I find it astounding that a charity that has been criticised so publicly still receives any central government funding at all.

SerendipityFelix Sun 08-Oct-17 13:37:42

It does put me off donating to CiN. I know they support many great causes, but I can always donate to other causes directly. I feel very strongly that I do not want my donations funding the absuive doctrines Mermaids perpetuates.

nauticant Sun 08-Oct-17 13:50:47

I've long felt that Children in Need has a bit of a Kids Company vibe about it. A bit too much personality and celebrity for my taste.

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