Charity Trans Mermaids Give Kids Breast Cinchers Behind Parents’ Backs

Before sending the satchel, Kai had to agree to follow the charity’s guidelines, which state that it should not be used for more than 8 hours a day or worn while exercising and should be removed if the carrier has experienced conditions such as sickness. , dizziness or overheating.

They also referenced a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health which found that 97% of adult users experienced bonding-related health effects, including pain, broken ribs, changes in the spine. spine, headaches, respiratory and skin infections and muscle wasting. There have been no studies of the impact on children, in part due to ethical concerns.

The Telegraph has been made aware of a number of Youth Forum posts about workbooks, dating back to 2019.

In one, a moderator tells a 13-year-old boy who complains his mother won’t let them wear one because it’s ‘negligence’ that the charity is running a program and if they send their contact details via email, Mermaids says it will post one “directly”.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder and director of Transgender Trend, a campaign group, said: “This is of great safeguarding concern, as breast fixation is essentially a form of self-harm. It damages the body very badly and prevents girls from breathing properly, which means they cannot play sports or be active.

“They [Mermaids] give inaccurate and partial information and encourage people to trust what is medical experience. Parents deserve to know all the information, no matter what decision they ultimately make.

Other online discussions passed to this newspaper as part of an evidence dossier show a Mermaids worker saying what he believes to be a 14-year-old boy that the worker has been in puberty for blockers “many years and “never had a problem”.

While admitting that they are not medically qualified, they add that the drugs “stop puberty and if they come out of it, it continues”.

A charity worker tells another user that puberty blockers “simply suppress the onset of puberty until you are ready to make a decision on how to move forward. They are completely reversible” .

The advice was given despite the medical community having long been concerned about the impact of puberty blockers. Dr Hilary Cass, who is leading a review of NHS services for trans children, has warned there are ‘significant gaps’ in knowledge of the long-term impact of drugs which she says could include harm to brain development.

Parents shocked by advice, but mermaids seem immune to controversy

It is not the first time concerns have been raised about the charity’s actions, including by whistleblowers at Tavistock, which was the only gender identity clinic for children until to the NHS announcing its closure this spring and the service moving to regional centres. .

But Mermaids seems to have shaken off the continuing controversy and remains the go-to charity for children who are questioning their gender.

The latest annual accounts for 2020-21 show the Sirens received a total income of over £1.8million, an increase of almost £1million on the previous year. The charity boasts that it has earned more than £60,000 from the training – double what it had planned – by delivering sessions to the police, the NHS children’s mental health service, hospital trusts, charities and employment agencies.

They say they gave 59 training sessions in schools and that session participants included general practitioners, educational psychologists, therapists and pediatric nurses.

While publicly advocating for the medicalisation of children, the group is recommended by boards, schools and NHS organizations across the country as a resource for trans young people and their families.

A number of concerned parents who have been referred to the charity by professionals say they are “shocked” by the advice.

Services include a forum which Mermaids says is a “safe space” and those who join have “submitted rigorous security checks”, which the adult posing as “Kai” was able to pass.

Once inside, the children discuss topics such as how to “pass” as their chosen gender, whether they can change their names and pronouns at school without their parents’ knowledge and how to bandage their breasts.

In a chat in a group for 12-15 year olds, a moderator publicly praised a girl when she described how she decided she was a trans boy when she was 13 and now wants ” all the surgeries” and “all the hormones”. .

A mother sent a complaint to the Charity Commission in 2020, warning that the forum was a ‘free for all’ which ‘failed to meet the most basic safeguarding standards’ and that she was ‘horrified at what young people teenagers are exposed behind the backs of their parents.

In a separate complaint, another mum says she was “extremely concerned that conversations with homophobic content allowed within the Mermaids Peer to Peer group may have caused my son to make the decision he now feels to be bisexual. or gay is unacceptable”.

“I fear these conversations have led him to believe that he must undergo a medical transition to be accepted.”

She worried “about the speed” with which her son, who has autism spectrum disorder, “travelled through a world of transition” due to the conversation in which the children were “instantly confirmed and encouraged by d ‘other service users to change their name behind their parents’ backs’.

In response to complaints, the parents were told the regulator had contacted the charity, but the matter was now closed.

But evidence of recent treatment of children uncovered by this newspaper has led to calls for the regulator to review the service.

MPs call for investigation

Joanna Cherry KC, an SNP MP, said: ‘The Sirens are currently trying to get another charity, the LGB Alliance, removed from the charity register, but I think it is high time their own activities were put on hold. under the projectors.

“These revelations raise major safeguard questions, particularly in light of the findings of Cass’s recent interim report. Allegations of homophobia are also of great concern. The Charity Commission must carry out a thorough investigation.

“As pathways to care also fall under the Cass report, I hope she will feel able to consider very carefully the advice that mermaids offer to gender non-conforming young people.”

Miriam Cates, the Tory MP, added that an investigation by the regulator would be a “good idea”.

“These are huge backup issues,” she told the Telegraph. “Any physical intervention such as breast bandaging, puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone is a serious issue and a step that should not be taken without medical supervision and in the case of a child, without the involvement of parents.

“There are so many question marks about mermaids. I know of schools where they went and gave dodgy presentations to kids and the girls decided they weren’t girls as a result.

The former teacher added that “the mermaids are not holding the bar for a group that should be allowed to provide resources or visits to schools. They should not be near schools.

The Sirens would not comment on details of the investigation, but said the bond “helps alleviate” the “distress” of gender dysphoria for some and that it took “a harm reduction stance “to provide a workbook “accompanied by full safety instructions from an experienced member of staff is preferable to the likely alternative of unsafe practices and/or continued or escalating dysphoria”.

He added: “The risk is considered by Mermaids staff in the context of our safeguard framework.”

Despite the growing body of evidence, Mermaids insisted that: “Puberty blockers are an internationally recognised, safe and reversible healthcare option, recommended by medical authorities in the UK and around the world for decades. “.

It says the NHS Gender Identity Service, run by the Tavistock, and medical experts have noted that ‘blockers are physically reversible when treatment is stopped. Puberty blockers allow a young person to consider their options while exploring their gender identity, while alleviating the distress of gender dysphoria.

When it was announced in July that NHS Tavistock was closed over fears it was unsafe for children, campaigners’ call was clear: ‘The sirens must go down next’.

That call may now have to be heeded at hospital and classroom board meetings across the country because, as Ms. Cherry points out, it’s not just the reputation of the organization. charity that is at stake.

“Those who have a training relationship with the charity would also be well advised to consider the extent to which following their advice might expose them to legal risk,” she said.

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