Mermaids (charity)

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The logo features the text "Mermaids" below a stylized "M" whose negative space is the silhouette of a mermaid fin, and a star
TypeNonprofit advocacy organisation
Registration no.1160575
PurposeTransgender rights
  • Suite 4 Tarn House, Leeds LS19 7SP, United Kingdom
Susie Green
Revenue (2020)
Expenses (2020)£1,041,326[2]
Staff (2020)
18 employees, 7 trustees, 31 volunteers[2]

Mermaids is a British charity and advocacy organisation that supports gender variant and transgender youth.[1][3]


Mermaids was founded in 1995 by a group of parents of gender nonconforming children.[1][4] It became a Charitable incorporated organisation in 2015.[5]

The 2018 ITV drama series Butterfly, about a young transgender girl, was substantially informed by Mermaids and its CEO, Susie Green, a consultant on the series who worked with creator Tony Marchant.[6] Marchant and cast members Emmett J. Scanlan and Anna Friel also met families involved with Mermaids to inform their creative processes.[7][8]

In December 2018, the charity was designated £500,000 in funding by the National Lottery.[9] However, the funding was put under review after criticism of the charity, including by Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan, who created a post on Mumsnet calling for members of the forum to email their concerns to the National Lottery.[10][11] In response to this, on 18 January 2019, YouTuber Hbomberguy began a livestream attempting to 101% complete the video game Donkey Kong 64, with a goal of $500. The stream became popular and raised over $350,000 USD for Mermaids.[12] Among other guests, the stream featured an appearance by American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.[13] On 19 February 2019, the National Lottery announced that it would follow through with the promised donation.[14]

Starting from 2017, Mermaids reported that it and its volunteers had been the subjects of online harassment, leading to concerns by parents whose children are supported by the organisation. CEO Green stated that she had been accused of forcibly castrating her transgender daughter, Jackie,[15] who had been the youngest person in the world to undergo sex reassignment surgery after Green took her to Thailand for the procedure when she was sixteen.[6] Jackie maintained that "If my mum had not helped me, I would not be here today" and transgender journalist Paris Lees wrote: "Susie Green is saving lives and I wish my parents had known about Mermaids when I was growing up".[15]

In June 2019, The Times revealed that they had discovered a data breach by Mermaids in which confidential emails had been made readily available through their website.[16] The Times stated that these included names of transgender children and their parents, together with contact details and intimate medical information. The newspaper reported that there were internal emails from the trustees that criticised the leadership by Susie Green, as well as criticism from parents.[16] Mermaids issued a press release on the same day, which acknowledged that a data breach had occurred, and that they had informed the Information Commissioner's Office and had corrected the breach. The press release stated that the breach was limited to internal emails and that no emails to and from families were part of the information leaked; The Times disputed this.[16][4]

In July 2020, the charity complained that the BBC had no longer included links to themselves on BBC LGBT advice pages, alongside two other organisations.[17][18] The BBC said that Mermaids was removed after complaints were made about the information it provided, and for impartiality reasons.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "About Us". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Charity Details". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Mermaids (National)". Birmingham LGBT. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Trans charity Mermaids UK 'deeply sorry' for data breach". BBC News. 16 June 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  5. ^ "MERMAIDS - Charity 1160575". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Mum of Leeds transgender woman who inspired ITV's Butterfly opens up about daughter's suicide attempts after bullying". Yorkshire Evening Post. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  7. ^ Percival, Ash (14 October 2018). "'Butterfly' Writer Tony Marchant On Changing Attitudes To Transgender Children And The Importance Of Trans Representation On Screen". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  8. ^ Harrison, Ellie (28 October 2018). "Paris Lees: 'Butterfly is the best thing to happen to the trans community for years'". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  9. ^ Cooney, Rebecca. "BLF to review £500k grant to transgender children's charity Mermaids". Third Sector. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. ^ "'Massive shame' as Big Lottery Fund announces review of £500,000 funding grant to Leeds' Mermaids UK transgender support charity". Yorkshire Evening Post. Archived from the original on 19 December 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Funding row charity's Donkey Kong boost". BBC News. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  12. ^ Wells, Adam (21 January 2019). "Marathon Donkey Kong Stream Raises Over $350,000 For Transgender Charity". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. ^ Greenwald, Will (21 January 2019). "Ocasio-Cortez drops in on Donkey Kong 64 Twitch stream". PC Mag. Archived from the original on 17 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  14. ^ Mohdin, Aamna (19 February 2019). "National Lottery to give grant to transgender children's group". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b Marsh, Sarah (27 August 2017). "Police investigate online abuse against charity for transgender children". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Gilligan, Andrew (16 June 2019). "Parents' anger as child sex change charity Mermaids puts private emails online". The Times. Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  17. ^ "A joint complaint to the BBC on behalf of UK LGBTQ+ organisations". Mermaids. Mermaids. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  18. ^ a b Brown, David (30 July 2020). "Mermaids and other trans groups dropped by BBC Advice Line service". The Times. Retrieved 12 September 2020.

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