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Trans kids charity Mermaids condemns ‘orchestrated onslaught’ of anti-trans press coverage

Vic Parsons October 7, 2019

Mermaids at Pride in London, 2019. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

UK media on Sunday published three anti-trans pieces that trans kids charity Mermaids has described as “nothing short of an orchestrated onslaught”.

Plans to reform gender recognition laws in the UK, gender-neutral toilets in schools and the number of trans people “detransitioning” were covered by two pieces in the Mail on Sunday and one in Sky News, respectively.

In a damning Twitter thread, Mermaids said it had “no choice” but to respond to the “slew of misleading stories”.

“We cannot stand silent amidst a slew of misleading stories, seemingly designed to undermine, frighten, alienate and demonise a vulnerable minority, including children,” the thread begins.

“We have been approached for comment by all of the journalists responsible.

“And it has been depressing, trying to offer fact-based, reasonable information. In truth, while a small number are simply too busy, too inexperienced, too lazy or too incompetent to question the motives of small but noisy groups seeking to spread fear and division, the truth is that some are only too happy to vilify transgender and NB [non-binary] kids and adults.

“So, after a short period of very positive coverage of transgender issues, we face the inevitable attempt to force us all back to the all-too-familiar tropes.”

The Sky News story reported that “hundreds” of young trans people regret transition and seek to reverse it, based on the story of one person who “detransitioned” and is now setting up a charity to help others.

 

“Any group supporting young people in their journey is welcome, so long as it isn’t a trojan horse for anti-transgender rhetoric,” read the last tweet regarding the Sky News story.

Mermaids added that the MoS story about gender-neutral toilets in schools causing girls to stay at home contained “no evidence to back up the claim”, which it knows because “we have asked in vain to see it”.

But the story was published, Mermaids said, because “fear and prejudice sells papers & gets clicks, and because a number of journalists personally believe that trans people (particularly trans women/girls) are a threat or are deserving of ridicule”.

On the MoS story about equalities minister Liz Truss “shelving” plans to finish a review of the Gender Recognition Act – the law that controls how trans people get their gender legally recognised – Mermaids said: “We know many of those at GEO [the Government Equalities Office] will be dismayed.”

The MoS story has since been refuted by sources close to the equalities minister, who said that Truss is “committed” to seeing through the GRA review.

More: gender recognition act, mermaids, trans kids

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