Is this the beginning of the end for Mermaids?

Nov 28, 2022 by

by Jo Bartosch, spiked:

The CEO of the controversial trans-kids charity has unexpectedly stepped down.

On Friday, as football fans across the nation were cracking open cans ahead of kick-off, child-transition charity Mermaids slipped out an announcement that chief executive Susie Green had left the organisation. In a bland statement, chair of trustees Belinda Bell said she was ‘grateful’ to the outgoing CEO for her six years at the helm and that an interim replacement would be appointed. No further details were offered.

In spite of the World Cup distraction and the tight-lipped statement, journalists jumped on the news of Green’s departure. The previously supportive Guardian was the first to break the story, closely followed by The Times. This shows just how radioactive Mermaids has become, and how eager many readers are to see into its melting core. Ultimately, the real story here is not that Green has left, but the uncertain future of the charity she leaves behind.

Green, who took up the role of chief executive in 2016, led the charity first to fame and later to controversy. She secured significant funding and celebrity endorsements before a series of alleged safeguarding breaches hit the headlines.

In its early years, Mermaids, which formed in 1995, did not refer to ‘transgender children’, but to ‘teenagers and children with gender-identity issues’. Even in 2015, the charity’s website explained that its aim was to ‘let the child develop as he or she is naturally meant to, while loving and accepting them for who they are at the present time’. It seems likely that its shift towards a more ideological approach, in which children who say they are trans are affirmed in their new identities, was informed by Green’s own experience, which she has widely publicised.

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