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Activists hit back at the Sunday Times for transphobic fear-mongering

Kate Lister took to Twitter following an article claiming transgender charity Mermaids is 'transphobic'

By Steve Brown

Activists have hit back at the Sunday Times for transphobic fear-mongering after a transgender charity was nearly awarded a Big Lottery Fund.

Earlier this month, the funding project revealed they were considering giving £500,000 to the transgender charity Mermaids but The Sunday Times reported that the BLF were reviewing the decision to donate money following ‘concerns’.

The article criticised the move by the Lottery Fund claiming the charity had been accused of bullying doctors, promoting falsehoods and using ‘emotional blackmail’ to pressure parents to support gender confirmation surgery.

The BLF said in the article they would look into any concerns but added: “However, we do not see any reason not to fund this.”

Mermaids is a charity that supports young people who are experiencing gender dysphoria and have been campaigning for children to have support in schools and the healthcare system.

But now, journalist and owner of the blog Whores of Yore, took to Twitter to shut down any fear-mongering after a Times reporter, Janice Turner, published an article with a link to audio to a lecture claiming the charity is transphobic.

In a long Twitter thread, Kate wrote: “This has become a very toxic environment in which to try and be heard, but one thing I hope we can all agree on is that shitty journalism, misreporting, & twisting evidence have no place in any kind of constructive dialogue.

“Yes, the Mermaid spokesperson does indeed make reference to gender ‘jelly babies’ and puts them on a spectrum with ‘barbie jelly baby’ at one end and ‘GI Joe jelly baby’ at the other.

“The discussion is on how we socially see gender expressions. In psychology, these archetypes are called ‘hyper masculinity’ and ‘hyper femininity’ – mermaids have just renamed them to be more accessible. This isn’t new or unique to Mermaids.

“The ‘jelly baby’ spectrum being used in the lecture is basically a visual representation of gender identifying markers. In academic terms these are ‘gender identity’, ‘gender expression’, ‘biological sex’ and ‘sexual orientation’.

“At no point does anyone suggest children who act in ways that do not conform to a gender are trans. At no point does anyone suggest gay children are trans. In fact, the woman taking the session self identifies as lesbian – and FULLY understands she is not trans.”

Attitude columnist Juno Dawson also hit back at Turner and the Sunday Times and said: “Janice Turner and the Sunday Times have a track record of printing hihgly negative pieces about trans people, Mermaids and Stonewall.

“This is not fair or balanced journalism, it’s a transphobic agenda. The moral panic around ‘transing’ children is scarily reminiscent of tabloid stories around the advent of Section 28 in the 80s.

“Unable to persecute trans youth personally, they have turned their attention to Mermaids, a charity which provides support to trans youths and their families.

“They provide advice and do not, in any way, supply medical care to any young people. Mermaids would have made a huge positive difference to my life if they’d been around when I was a child.”