UK: Politician Calls for Police Investigation into Trans Youth Charity

An elected official has called for a formal police investigation into a “trans youth” charity in light of recent scandalous revelations that sparked safeguarding concerns. Tory Member of Parliament Miriam Cates, addressing the House of Commons, briefly outlined recent issues surrounding Mermaids that have made headlines, and said it was “high time for a police investigation.” Prime Minister Liz Truss appeared to agree with Cates’ sentiment.

“Over the past week, serious safeguarding failures by the children’s charity Mermaids have come to light, MP Cates said. “For years, despite whistleblowers raising alarm, Mermaids have had unfettered access to vulnerable children. Does my right honorable friend agree that it’s taken far too long for these concerns to be taken seriously, and does she also agree that it’s high time for a police investigation into the activities of Mermaids and its staff?”

Prime Minister Liz Truss replied in agreement with Cates’ statements, noting that children “should not be forced into any kind of activity,” and added: “Of course those matters should be raised and should be properly looked at.”

Last week, the Charity Commission launched a regulatory compliance probe into Mermaids. The charitable organization authority said the investigation was in response to complaints it received about Mermaids. One of the incidents reported was from a mother whose 14-year-old son was being encouraged to send sexualized photos of himself to strangers he encountered through the Mermaids website.

Another contributing factor behind the Charity Commission’s decision was a report by The Telegraph which found that Mermaids was offering to send breast-binders to young girls without their parents’ knowledge.

An interim report released in March had warned that some binding devices may be potentially harmful to the health of girls. Dr. Hilary Cass released an independent review into “gender identity services for children and young people” which cautioned against the “affirmation” model, which overlooks mental health and external influences.

The report emphasized that “distress may be exacerbated by pressure to identify with societal stereotyping” and raised concerns over “the influence of social media, which can be seen to perpetuate unrealistic images of gender and set unhealthy expectations.”

In subsequent days it was revealed that a trustee at Mermaids had long-standing connections with pro-pedophile lobbyists, and had himself confessed to having sexual desires for children.

Jacob Breslow, an American academic and Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the London School of Economics’ Department of Gender Studies, resigned after it began to circulate that he had a history of pedophile sympathies.

As previously reported by Reduxx, Breslow had given a presentation at a symposium held by B4U-Act — a charity founded in 2003 by convicted child rapist Michael Melsheimer. In the lecture, Breslow promoted the concept of treating pedophilia as a sexual orientation, a goal long-advocated by B4U-Act.

Disturbingly, Breslow’s pro-pedophile sentiment was not isolated to the symposium.

Following news of Breslow’s pedophilia apologism, further damning statements and associations were revealed, including now-deleted blog entries he had written praising an academic who published child sexual abuse materials. Only months before, the University of Manchester had announced an investigation into PhD student Karl Andersson for his academic paper about sexual attraction to pubescent boys.

Significantly, Breslow confessed to having sexual fantasies about children in his now-defunct WordPress blog. 

Most recently, a staff member at Mermaids was exposed as having shared pornographic images of himself online. Darren Mew, a digital engagement officer for the children’s charity, was featured in Haus Magazine, an LGBT publication. Photos of Mew were arranged in a collage of six pictures of himself naked, holding his erect penis, in addition to an image of his rear, and surrounded by pairs of breasts with penises protruding from them.

Mew had also posted an photo of himself with an upwards view through a short skirt on Instagram, in an apparent attempt to resemble a sexualized schoolgirl. A parent whose child was once involved with Mermaids filed a complaint with the Charity Commission in response, calling for an investigation, according to The Times.

“The graphic clearly presents the imagery of amputated breasts. In another [photo] Darren wears a Hentai style schoolgirl skirt and adopts a provocative pose and appears to be broadcasting sexualized little girl vibes,” read the complaint.

Maya Forstater, women’s rights campaigner and a founder of the organization Sex Matters, was locked out of her Twitter account yesterday for sharing an image of Mew in a critical context.

In 2019, Forstater’s employment contract was not renewed in retaliation for tweets she had made that were critical of gender identity ideology. Forstater took up a widely-publicized legal challenge, a case which garnered the support of acclaimed author J. K. Rowling, and in July 2022 an employment tribunal found that she had been unfairly discriminated against for making statements asserting that biological sex cannot be changed.

Writing about her recent Twitter censorship on Medium, Forstater drew attention to several other alarming incidents involving the children’s charity. Among the past controversies was a BDSM calendar produced by Mermaids, and a photoshoot of a child in drag, taken in a bedroom, with an adult.

Left: 2020 promotional image produced by Mermaids for a campaign sponsored by Starbucks and promoted by the BBC.
Right: 2019 drag calendar sold to raise funds for the children’s charity.

“Children’s charities should not be employing pornographers who put their work in the public domain, or pro-paedophile professors, or soft-porn models who promote children to perform sexualized acts in front of men in clubs for money,” wrote Forstater.

“They should not be raising money by selling calendars featuring BDSM … They should not be normalizing any of this as being appropriate for children.”

On October 12, it was reported that the Department for Education had removed Mermaids from its mental health and well-being resources for schools as a precautionary measure following the ongoing evaluation by The Charity Commission. Last week a major financial supporter of Mermaids, the National Lottery, decided to pause a £500,000 grant to the charity pending the outcome of the Commission’s investigation.

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Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.