Mermaids On The Rocks
The charity that shouldn't exist
The Telegraph has just published a deeply shocking article about Mermaids supplying young girls with dangerous breast binders without the knowledge and/or consent of their parents. Furthermore, it seems like the charity’s staff are using lies and subterfuge to push vulnerable kids into medical transition.
Mermaids has been an organisation of extreme controversy and dubious reputation for years.
In 2017 Mermaids was implicated in a high court case concerning a mother who forced her seven-year-old son to live as girl. According to a report in The Times, Mermaids was forbidden from contacting the boy after providing advice and support to the mother who enforced his social transition.
The paper also accused Mermaids of offering fast-track hormone therapy for minors, in direct contravention of NHS guidelines. It reported that the youth section of the Mermaid's website featured a message from a medical professional offering families an evaluation appointment with an endocrinologist following which hormones could be prescribed the same day. However, when The Times questioned Mermaids about this content, the message disappeared from the website.
In 2021 Mermaids was fined £25,000 for failing to keep the personal data of its vulnerable users secure. Around 780 pages of confidential emails, often relating to very vulnerable children, were exposed for nearly three years, leaving users’ personal information, medical data and contact details etc searchable online.
As we have reported, Mermaids has longstanding links with disgraced gender doctors, Michael Webberley, who was been struck off the medical register in May this year, and Helen Webberley, who was suspended from practising for two months by a medical tribunal after putting three patients at ‘unwarranted risk of harm’ by failing to provide good clinical care.
Mermaids also has links to dodgy offshore clinic, Gender GP, which supplies hormone treatment to children without their parents’ consent or even knowledge.
Mermaids used to link to GenderGP’s webpage from its own site. That link was removed following advice from The National Lottery which had just granted Mermaids £500,000. However, GenderGP was still being discussed on a private forum hosted on the Mermaids' website. Even though Mermaids is supposed to moderate this forum, GenderGP was mentioned hundreds of times by parents who were using its services, seemingly unaware that the clinic is unregulated in the UK.
And now an investigation by The Telegraph has revealed that Mermaids staff are persuading children into medical transition, encouraging them to conceal their contact with the charity from their parents, and have been offering binders to girls as young as thirteen, even when those children inform them that their parents have forbidden it.
The paper has uncovered evidence that the Mermaids online help centre has been offering advice to users who present themselves as young as thirteen, telling them that controversial puberty blockers are safe and ‘totally reversible’. Furthermore, it has seen discussions in Mermaid’s moderated forum for children aged 12 to 15 on how to raise money to fund hormone treatment and how to best take testosterone. One moderator publicly congratulated a teenage user for deciding they are trans by the age of thirteen and choosing to have ‘all the surgeries’.
According to the NHS, “Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children.” Last year, Sweden’s Karolinska Hospital stopped prescribing puberty blockers to children under sixteen. “These treatments are potentially fraught with extensive and irreversible adverse consequences such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis.”
In February 2021 the British Medical Journal reported on the findings of the Tavistock’s own puberty blockers trial. It found the drugs did not alleviate the negative thoughts of children with dysphoria and warned of potential side effects. “Puberty blockers used to treat children aged 12 to 15 who have severe and persistent gender dysphoria had no significant effect on their psychological function, thoughts of self-harm, or body image... However, as expected, the children experienced reduced growth in height and bone strength by the time they finished their treatment at age 16.”
The dangers and side effects, many of which are only now just coming to light, have been expertly and meticulously documented by Professor Michael Biggs.
Puberty blockers are, at best, experimental. Their long-term effects and harms are not yet properly understood and their benefit to the patient is negligible. How can Mermaids push these drugs on vulnerable children, telling them that they are ‘safe’ and ‘totally reversible’ when it is obvious they are anything but? More importantly, how can they continue getting away with it?
The Telegraph article reports an email exchange between Mermaids staff and an adult posing as a 14-year-old girl who wants to transition. The Mermaids staff promised to provide the girl with a breast binder despite being told repeatedly told that the child’s mother would ‘not allow’ her to use one. They even asked for an address to which they could post the girl a binder without her parents’ knowledge.
Evidence shows that Mermaids has been running a ‘binder scheme’ since at least 2019, offering to send free binders to young girls who say that their parents will not buy one for them.
Breast-binding is a dangerous practice that carries significant health risks and can cause permanent physical harm. It can cause compressed, fractured, and broken ribs, respiratory problems, damage to lungs, blood vessels and muscle, back problems and posture issues. It can even bring on a heart attack due to decreased blood flow.
A recent study examined 27 different negative health effects of binding. The survey of 1800 females who used breast binders reported a number of negative health effects, some of which are felt immediately, some which can take years to fully emerge.
Again, how can Mermaids get away with promoting this dangerous practice to minors, secretly supplying binders to children, even knowing that their use has been expressly forbidden by their parents?
Mermaids has the audacity to challenge the charitable status of the LGB Alliance when it is their own organisation the Charity Commission should be investigating. Only a few weeks ago Mermaids’ Chair of Trustees, Belinda Bell, appeared as a witness in that very case and declared to the court, “We are not a medical organisation”.
So why on earth are Mermaids being allowed to shove vulnerable kids into harmful medical treatments? This has to stop.