Mermaids – Time for Trans Accountability

Susie Green has been at the helm of Mermaids for more than 7 years, taking Mermaids from a tiny unknown, unregistered cis parent support group (with varied levels of trans positivity) to a substantial, internationally recognised, multiple award winning, formalised charity, with many trans staff members, a multi-million pound budget, and high commitment to the rights and well-being of trans children. I have an enormous amount of respect for Susie and how she has fought for trans kids against pressures and challenges that would have broken many other people.

Today it was announced that Susie is no longer in post, with a short statement from Mermaids reporting that an interim CEO will shortly be appointed.

Mermaids has been of vital importance to my family – to many, many trans kids and families. Mermaids remains an important stakeholder in supporting trans children and their carers, in advocating for trans kids’ rights to healthcare, to education, to safety, equality, and well-being.

At this moment in time, strong, trans-positive leadership from Mermaids is critically important.

The threats to trans children in 2022 are more worrying than ever. There are threats to trans kids’ rights at school, threats to access to healthcare, even threats to trans kids’ ability to socially transition and be safe from the harms of conversion practices.

We cannot afford to have weak or conservative cis leadership at Mermaids. We need a Director in post who understands the severity of the threats to trans children of all ages – a person who will stand up and be counted. We need a strong and trans positive leader of Mermaids, now more than ever.

I publicly call on the Mermaids board to take the opportunity at this exact moment in time to strengthen accountability to trans communities.

I call on the Mermaids board to appoint a Trans Advisory Panel to oversee the recruitment of the new Mermaids CEO.

One option for forming this Trans Advisory Panel, would be to seek guidance from existing trans led governance forums, specifically, the Good Law Project and the Trans Learning Partnership, both of which have effective Trans Advisory Panels and might take a role in establishing Mermaids’ own Trans Advisory Panel.

Mermaids needs to retain trust and confidence from both the trans community and the community of parents and carers of trans children, through this period of change. Taking this opportunity to improve accountability to trans communities would be a powerful signal that service users can maintain confidence in the future direction of Mermaids as a world leading trans support and advocacy organisation.

Please join me in this call for the Mermaids board to strengthen accountability and oversight to trans communities before appointing a new CEO.

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