Mermaids has hit back at a conspiracy theory it is “over” or being “dropped”, while allies including Stonewall have doubled down on their support for the trans youth charity.
The charity has confirmed that it is alive and well amid unfounded reports it has been dropped by allies such as Stonewall and the activist Jameela Jamil.
The saga appears to have begun with a trifecta of events: Jamil mass-deleting old tweets as part of re-focusing her account; a blog post from Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan, who is banned from Twitter for “hateful conduct”, discussing this; and screenshots of Stonewall’s “Coming Out” page taken out of context and shared to suggest the charity does not support Mermaids.
There is no evidential basis for the claim – which trended on Twitter Thursday (August 13) – nor any explanation as to how Mermaids is “over”, other than the anti-trans brigade’s dislike for the charity.
A Mermaids spokesperson told PinkNews: “These claims about organisations and people ‘dropping’ their support for us is founded only in rumours and screenshots of web pages that don’t or haven’t existed.
“Deleted tweets and empty web pages have been taken out of context to try and detract from us and the work we do – an effort we reject.
“It’s such a shame that so much effort is put in to creating false narratives that aim to demonise trans people and those that support them. We send our solidarity to all trans, non-binary and gender diverse people impacted by this and remind them that we are here for them.”
Stonewall and Jameela Jamil hit back at speculation they don’t support Mermaids.
Stonewall clarified that Mermaids continues to have its full support after a screenshot was taken out of context to suggest it had severed links with the charity.
“Contrary to some speculation online, we proudly support the vital work Mermaids does in helping trans young people and their parents,” a tweet read. “We have the utmost respect for Mermaids and will continue to stand by their side & work with them.”
The organisation, Europe’s largest LGBT+ charity, added a thank-you to transphobes for pointing out that its page didn’t include a link to Mermaids. “Thanks for pointing that out,” Stonewall tweeted. “We’ve now fixed it.”
What’s been shared online is an admin page that exists for all the organisations we link to on our website, and the other is our coming out page.
Our coming out page hadn’t mentioned Mermaids before, so thanks for pointing that out. We’ve now fixed ithttps://t.co/bTQRJkUTJD
— stonewalluk (@stonewalluk) August 13, 2020
Stonewall chief Nancy Kelly also voiced her support for Mermaids, calling it “a fantastic charity providing essential support to children and families”.
“No conspiracy, just a creaky slightly elderly website,” she added.
Thisno conspiracy, just a creaky slightly elderly website (oh hai! website designers ). Mermaids are a fantastic charity, providing essential support to children and families , and we @stonewalluk are proud to work with them. https://t.co/2FRDqw0OSn
— Nancy Kelley (@Nancy_M_K) August 13, 2020
Jameela Jamil also clarified that contrary to rumour, she hadn’t specifically deleted tweets “lauding Mermaids”.
The actor and activist – a vocal trans ally who regularly defends trans lives to her more than one million Twitter followers – said: “I deleted all my tweets from 2009-2020. Not to delete anything specific. I just want this to become a more activism focused account that I can lend to other activists and charities.”
I deleted all my tweets from 2009-2020. Not to delete anything specific. I just want this to become a more activism focused account that I can lend to other activists and charities.
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) August 11, 2020
Public figures share conspiracy theories about Mermaids.
As speculation about Mermaids heated up online based on a few tweets, misleading screenshots and Mumsnet threads, a number of influential anti-trans voices stoked the conspiracy.
Guardian journalist Suzanne Moore, who infamously wrote several newspaper columns about being silenced by trans rights activists, tweeted: “I see all you celebs deleting your tweets that supported the charity Mermaids? Wonder why you are doing that.”
One such celebrity, the lesbian singer Grace Petrie, later clarified that this was untrue.
“Contrary to some bizarre reports (and I think possibly even some photoshopped screenshots) I have not deleted any tweets in support of Mermaids, who do brilliant work with young people and who I’m proud to support,” Petrie tweeted.
She added: “I do like that they refer to me as a ‘celeb supporter’ like Jameela Jamil! Ambassador, you’re spoiling us.”
Moore’s Guardian colleague Hadley Freeman also tweeted about the smear campaign, linking to a 2011 Sun article about Mermaids CEO Susie Green and calling Green’s trans daughter “her young son”.
Nothing says “really breaking down old conservative ideas about gender and sex” like banning your young son from playing with dolls
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) August 12, 2020
Journalist and writer Freddy McConnell said he was “appalled to see fellow progressive journalists amplify this conspiracy theory”.
McConnell, a trans man whose pregnancy journey was documented in the film Seahorse, added: “It’s a very scary and stressful time to be a person, let alone a child, who is transgender in the UK.”
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