UK: Police investigate online abuse against charity for transgender children

Police in West Yorkshire are investigating after the UK’s largest charity supporting transgender children received a stream of abusive messages online. 

Mermaids UK reported a sharp rise in abusive and threatening comments on social media, saying it had been forced to block 20 people a day on Twitter. 

The charity, which supports transgender children and their families, said it had been falsely accused of “enticing” children by attending recent Pride UK events. 

Mermaids UK’s chief executive, Susie Green, said she was falsely accused of forcibly castrating her transgender daughter. “They [people on Twitter] have referred to my daughter as my gay son and I have been accused of chemically castrating her,” she said.

Green’s daughter, Jackie, who is 24 and lives in Italy, said: “Not only are their words incredibly hurtful to me but it is also horrible to think someone would write something like that, and that they are trying to discredit my mother. If my mum had not helped me I would not be here today.”

The charity put the rise in abuse down to negative media coverage, citing an article in the Mail on Sunday which explored the number of children receiving puberty-blockers. The article quoted a “trio of top US doctors” who described these blockers as being “‘unsupported by rigorous scientific evidence”.

Mermaids UK was awarded the Community Group of the Year Award at the 2016 National Diversity Awards and has won the Charity of the Year in the Children and Young People Now Awards. Read more via the Guardian