Peep Show star Robert Webb has attacked a UK charity that helps to save trans lives.
The British comedian slammed Mermaids in a series of tweets that backed an article written by The Times’ Janice Turner.
Turner accused the charity of lying to people using ‘cod science’.
The Times also chose to not include Mermaids’ full response to their query.
Peep Show star Robert Webb attacks trans charity: ‘Mermaids sucks’
Webb said: ‘This won’t make me popular in certain quarters but fuck it – I’m with Janice and I don’t say it often enough.
‘He added: ‘I’ve talked to some really nice trans people here and they have my solidarity if they want it. But Mermaids sucks.’
In the article written in The Times, Turner alleged that Mermaids says you can tell what gender a child is depending on how they express themselves, a choice between a ‘Barbie’ and ‘GI Joe’.
And then Turner claimed Mermaids sees women as just wearing ‘frilly dresses’ and men like ‘muddy sports’.
Robert Webb spreads misinformation about trans charity
Webb, in his book How Not To Be a Boy, wrote extensively on how he was bullied as a child for not being a typical ‘masculine boy’.
He said on Twitter he was slamming Mermaids because the charity would have told him he needed a ‘lifetime of medication’.
‘I was different, as was my wife. I was a “queer”, she was a “tomboy”. It turned out we were non gender-conforming children,’ Webb said.
‘Many kids like us turn out to be gay. Others don’t. A tiny minority have dysphoria.
‘That’s a medical condition and those children deserve respect, love, support and counseling.
‘But telling all kids like me and Abbie that we were born into the wrong body and therefore need a lifetime of medication… that’s just wrong.’
The full recording of the Mermaids lecture was made available on Soundcloud.
Mermaids does put Barbie and GI Joe on two ends of a spectrum. However, this is in reference to the social constructs of gender.
The trainer, a self-identified cis lesbian, says these are ‘stereotypes’ and she wouldn’t ‘insult your intelligence’ by suggesting they were anything else.
This discussion, on how we see gender expressions, is an analogy of ‘hyper masculinity’ and ‘hyper femininity’.
Read this Twitter thread for more fact-checking regarding Turner’s Times article:
I’ve been watching the intense debate surrounding @Mermaids_Gender unfold in recent days – including the publication of Janice Turner’s article on the training Mermaids offer – based on a training session that was recorded in January 2018. https://t.co/6tlrq8gSI1
— Kate Lister (@literaturepeep) December 23, 2018
In the lecture, the trainer explores gender identity, expression, biological sex and sexual orientation.
The trainer never suggests any child who act in ways that do not conform to a gender are trans. She also does not suggest gay children are trans.
She also does not say children should be given cross-sex hormones or surgery.
Mermaids also reiterated yesterday: ‘We don’t get involved in any kind of clinical decision making, including diagnosis and/or medical intervention.
‘Gender non-conformity is not the same as gender dysphoria. We have seen young people change direction, and the best relationships are those where a parent listens and supports whatever.
They added: ‘We would never tell people what to do. We are a support charity.’
Robert Webb criticized
Webb was criticized by LGBTI people, as well as those who have been helped by Mermaids.
Jake Graf, film director, said: ‘I’m sorry that you’ve been wrongly informed as to what Mermaids do.
‘As one of their patrons, and a trans man who would have killed for Mermaids as a child, I can testify the work they do is absolutely invaluable and life-saving.’
Cat Strickson said: ‘As someone whose childhood was torn apart by gender dysphoria, and for whom Mitchell and Webb was one of my greatest sources of joy during such a dark time, this breaks my heart.’
Alan Maguire also said: ‘Where do you even start with this Robert Webb shit? I never felt like a regular boy growing up either but I never felt like I was the wrong gender.
‘It’s completely disingenuous of him to say that being a non-traditional man and gender dysphoria are the same thing.’
And a mother of a trans child also said: ‘Mermaids have helped me to get through the hardest year of my life.
‘I suspect they will be helping me for years to come given my child is only seven.
‘Please listen to the people who actually know.’
The Big Lottery Fund has also now been forced to review the decision. They said: ‘We have received a range of correspondence in relation to a proposed grant to Mermaids, expressing both concern and support regarding this organization.
‘We’re grateful to those who have taken the time to write to us, and in light of the nature and volume of the communication we have received, we have decided to undertake a review of this grant.’