Mermaids was once, not long ago, the darling of the charity world: Starbucks sold Mermaids-branded cookies and famous faces including Emma Watson queued up to support the transgender organisation. But 2022 was the year Mermaids hit the rocks. The Charity Commission launched an inquiry into Mermaids last month after identifying concerns about its management. The charity which, a few years ago, could do no wrong in the eyes of corporations and policy makers faces an uncertain future. Despite what Mermaid’s dwindling band of supporters might say, this is good news.
Once upon a time an organisation was established to campaign for gay and lesbian rights. They faced opposition from the outset. They were widely condemned, even called out as a hate group when they talked about same-sex attraction. When they sought charitable status, a petition was launched, urging the Charities Commission to reject the application. Tens of thousands of people signed it.
But this was not the dark days of the 1980s, when Section 28 stopped councils and schools ‘promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. This is now.