Exclusive: Trans charity Mermaids giving breast binders to children behind parents’ backs
A transgender children’s charity is giving potentially dangerous chest-flattening devices to 14-year-olds against their parents’ wishes, an investigation by The Telegraph has found.
Mermaids, which receives funding from the taxpayer and runs training for schools and the NHS, offered to send a breast binder discreetly to a girl they believed was only 14, even after they were told that she was not allowed to use one by her mother.
Evidence obtained by The Telegraph shows that the charity’s staff have offered binders to children as young as 13 who say that their parents oppose the practice.
In an email exchange with an adult posing as a 14-year-old girl wanting to transition to a boy, Mermaids staff agreed to send out a breast binder despite being repeatedly told that the child’s mother would “not allow” it.
They asked for the name and address the user wanted the package sent to, which would allow them to receive it without their parents’ knowledge.
At no point did staff raise questions about any underlying illnesses, mental health conditions, or question whether any responsible adult would be informed that the person they thought was 14 was using a binder.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, the founder and director of Transgender Trend, a campaign group, said: “This is a great safeguarding concern, because breast binding is basically a form of self-harm. It damages the body in some very serious ways and it prevents girls from being able to breathe properly, meaning that they cannot do sport or be active.
Joanna Cherry KC, an SNP MP, said: “Mermaids are currently trying to have another charity, the LGB Alliance, removed from the register of charities, but I think it’s high time their own activities were put under the spotlight.”