Transgender charity considers legal action over Sunday Times story

09 Oct 2017 News

A charity which offers support and advice to children with gender identity issues and their families has said it is in “active discussion with a lawyer” over an article which appeared in the Sunday Times yesterday. 

The article in the Sunday Times had said the charity had been banned from contact with a family by the High Court. The charity said this is not the case, but it has respected a request that the charity stopped providing support. 

The article refers to a court case from October 2016 where there was a dispute between two parents about the gender identity of their child. Mermaids had supported the mother during the case, where the court awarded custody to the father.  

Yesterday the Sunday Times said that the charity “has been banned by the High Court from any contact with a family after the mother, who was being advised by the group, forced her seven-year-old son to live as a girl”. 

But the charity said: “Mermaids has not been banned from contact with the child by the high court, and Mermaids was directly referenced only once during proceedings, to state that the mother had been receiving support from the charity. Following the proceedings, the mother informed us that the judge had ordered the child should have no further contact with the charity. While we have not received any legal notice to support this statement, we have respected this request.”

‘Disappointed’ by the coverage

Mermaids said that it was “disappointed” by the article and said negative reporting makes its job more difficult. 

In a statement it said: “While we appreciate that there is currently an interest by the media in transgender children, it is very unhelpful to publish an article which could undermine the only national charity supporting them.

“All of us engaged with gender diversity and supporting gender-questioning and transgender youth are familiar with negative reactions based on ignorance, fear and prejudice. This makes it even more important that the UK media report on this subject in a truthful and non-sensational manner.

“While Mermaids has been recognised by, and received numerous awards from respected institutions, the impact of such negative reporting has a direct impact on the families and young people we support.”

It added that it is “in active discussion with a lawyer regarding misinformation in the Sunday Times article”. 


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