Over the past week, there have been a number of stories furthering the narrative that trans children are forced into questioning their gender by their parents. The accusation is that parents have been "dressing" their children to look like the "opposite" gender. Related to this, the trans support charity Mermaids has come under attack for "interfering" with family life by helping trans children to tackle the confusion and issues they face.
After seeing a horrific article on the Daily Mail article on Saturday morning, attacking the hard work Mermaids do, and their CEO, I created an open letter of support for the charity. Mermaids helped me a lot when I came out, and I wanted to show support for them. Very quickly, the letter, and it's accompanying hashtag - #StandWithMermaids, took off, within 24 hours of making the open letter, it had over 200 signatures. It now stands at over 300.
The letter has been signed by very well known and celebrated trans rights campaigners such as Christine Burns, Juno Roche, Paris Lees, Ayla Holdom, Annie Wallace, these are all people that I look up to.
It's not just trans people who have signed the letter, it's received support from our cisgender allies including Maggie Chapman the Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party, Larry Sanders - Bernie's older brother, Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry, and the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales - Amelia Womack.
National LGBT Charity - Stonewall said "Mermaids is a vital organisation that stands by the side of vulnerable young people and their parents, who are often unsure and uncertain of how to support their children. Without Mermaids, many young trans people and their families would feel lost and unsure of the help that is available to them. We have the utmost respect for its staff who continue to work tirelessly to ensure services are available for those that need it."
Mermaids is a highly valued charity that offers specialist advice and support to trans people and their families and we hope it will continue to be able to perform this vital role.
No parent wants to make the difficulties of growing up any harder for their child and sadly society does not yet fully respect the rights of trans people.
The parents that help their children realise their own identity should be celebrated, not condemned. This is why we come together to say, we #StandWithMermaids
To view the full list of signatories, and to add your name, please visit the document, here.