Mermaids, the charity for trans kids and their families, is trying to raise money to better help people. The video above does a really good job of demonstrating just how toxic things are at the moment: I thought I was pretty much desensitised to the constant barrage of anti-trans articles, but it turns out I’m not – to see the onslaught on-screen is still horrifying, especially when it only represents a tiny, tiny proportion of the newspaper scaremongering and online abuse.
The Mermaids crowdfunder is here. I don’t agree with everything they’re raising money for – I think their planned billboards, which they hope will raise positive awareness of trans kids, are going to be completely ineffective; when you’re up against the overwhelming majority of the UK media and much of the political class too, having a couple of billboards is like taking a pea-shooter to a nuclear war – but they’re also raising money to fund more helpline volunteers and improve the information on their website, practical steps that will genuinely help people.
And while they’re hopelessly outgunned, the point they’re making with their #IfIHadAVoice campaign is an important one. What’s missing from the so-called debate about trans kids is the voices of the children and of their families (and the medical professionals who are active in this field), all of which are drowned out by ill-informed, self-proclaimed experts. For example, the right-wing press’s favourite “expert” on trans kids is a former religious cult member whose expertise is in sculpture, not medicine; their go-to anti-trans transsexual “Dr” isn’t a medical doctor but a physics teacher; many of the voices given airtime are simply bigots.
the amount of negative coverage of transgender kids over the last 8 years has grown massively. The press and a small group of anti-trans campaigners have decided to make transgender children – and the few organisations supporting them – the target of deliberate misrepresentation.
While transgender children and their families feel increasingly afraid to speak out, some of the country’s most influential speakers are content to speak about them, speak for them and speak over them.