Mermaids UK will receive £500,000 funding, following a review of the decision sparked by anti-trans campaigners.
The National Lottery Community Fund will proceed with a £500,000 grant to Mermaids UK, a charity for transgender children and their families, after an anti-trans campaign prompted a review of the proposed funding.
A source has told BuzzFeed News that the review was vigorous and far-reaching in examining the concerns raised against the planned grant, which would enable the charity to set up localised support for young trans people. The grant, to be paid out over the course of five years, represents 0.1% of the money raised by the lottery each year to fund community projects.
Opponents of Mermaids’ work had accused the charity of encouraging children into medical transition, of promoting the notion that transgender children exist, and of being part of a “cult”.
In a statement posted to its website, the National Lottery Community Fund said: “Following public interest regarding the proposed grant to Mermaids UK, The National Lottery Community Fund undertook a review of a number of concerns expressed in relation to the charity.
“This review did not find any grounds to withhold funding from Mermaids UK. The grant has therefore been approved by the England Funding Committee. As part of our grant management process, we will work closely with Mermaids UK to ensure they are supported in their development.”
The outcome of the review will be seen as a major victory for the charity and for the progress of transgender inclusion in Britain, following a backlash against trans individuals and organisations over the past year, which peaked amid the outcry over Mermaids.
Susie Green, the CEO of Mermaids, said in a statement: “For Mermaids, the review was an opportunity both to affirm the value of increasing direct support with local groups, alongside training delivery and research development, and to demonstrate to the Fund that the charity was well positioned to produce and manage these initiatives.
“Mermaids will now be able do more to improve outcomes and experiences for transgender and gender-diverse children and young people.”
Mermaids, which was established in 1995, works to support the rights of trans children, to raise awareness of the issues young trans people face, and to improve the emotional wellbeing of those transitioning and their families.
In December 2018, a post on the Mumsnet website prompted members of the public to email the National Lottery Community Fund, previously named the Big Lottery Fund until January, opposing the pledged grant.
Although the nongovernmental funding body, which raised money through the National Lottery, did not reveal how many messages it had received, a spokesperson announced in December, “in light of the nature and volume of the communication we have received, we have decided to undertake a review of this grant.”
The Mumsnet post against the proposed grant was started by Irish comedian Graham Linehan, who has written some sitcoms and does not have training or expertise in the treatment protocol of trans children.