Mermaids: leading children up the trans path

Jul 5, 2020 by

by Jo Bartosch, spiked:

With the air of an evangelical preacher, Susie Green paces across the stage in her Dr Martens. She is explaining to the Ted X audience how her son Jack became her daughter Jackie.

Green is a former IT consultant and CEO of Mermaids, a charity that advertises itself as supporting ‘gender-variant children, young people and their families’. The story of Jack’s transition to Jackie is frequently told by Green to promote the charity. In the four years since she took the helm, Mermaids has shot to prominence, forming partnerships with Starbucks and gaining the support of media megastars including Prince Harry, actor Jameela Jamil and US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But questions about the influence of Mermaids on clinical bodies, its response to critics and the science behind the ‘born in the wrong body’ approach have begun to tarnish Mermaids’ highly polished image.

Winner of a ‘National Diversity Award’ and one of the few ‘straight allies’ to appear on the Pride Power List of 2017, Green is the very image of a supportive mother. She says she initially thought she ‘had a very sensitive, quite effeminate little boy who was probably gay’. She recalls how, as a boy, Jack was made to feel shame about his preference for the ‘girly’ toys and clothes by his father, at one point asking his grandmother ‘can you buy me Barbie Rapunzel, but can you hide it because if mummy and daddy find it they’re going to take it away’.

Green offers such anecdotes as evidence that her child was born with a ‘girl brain in a boy body’. But most research suggests that children who exhibit such behaviour are simply more likely to grow up to be same-sex attracted, and that puberty typically alleviates feelings of a body / brain mismatch. Despite this, Mermaids has been so successful in promoting the ‘wrong body’ narrative that it is referenced today by organisations across the UK, from the BBC to the NHS.

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