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Blog — True Life

Carrie Lyell

Carrie Lyell, Mermaids’ Digital Engagement Manager, looks back on our first residential weekend in more than two years Last Saturday, I threw a rucksack on my back and ventured out into the murky morning. Destination: my first residential weekend as a member of the Mermaids team.  Watching the rain drip, drip, drip down the train window as we pulled out of the train station, I was nervous. Painfully so. Not only would it be the first time at a Mermaids event, but the first time meeting my new(ish) colleagues and the people we support since starting as Digital Engagement Manager…

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For me, it was a long process of leaning into uncertainty. Not knowing, not having any set answers and eventually identifying myself with the fun rhyming label: ‘gender pending’. And as someone prone to anxiety and obsessive intrusive thoughts, this was both an incredibly challenging and ultimately powerful journey.” In this essay, Jennifer explores honestly and openly the long, scary and ultimately releasing journey of realising and owning their truth as a non-binary person. Beginning with an initial seed of awakening in 2019 and then tracking back through the memories of unease and dysphoria through their childhood and adolescent days…

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October marks Black History Month in the UK, as it is celebrated during the month of February in the US. This month is not just important – it is an essential reminder that as Black people we have had our story hidden or told through a white lens. There’s a real hunger for the affirmation we get when we unearth Black stories, and for the inspiration we get when we celebrate the stories of those who came before us. As much as this is true, it can be a bittersweet moment for Black queer people. There’s plenty of information going around….

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I knew that I wanted a new name after I figured out I was a trans guy, so once I changed my name and was no longer connected to that female part of my past, I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It solidified my identity and just felt right after a few years of not knowing why I felt wrong. I loved certain male names, long before I knew what trans was or that it was something people were allowed to be. I would always be the boy character in games and when you needed…

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Proposed legislation has worrying implications for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people. Derwen Fay, who is genderfluid, shares their story I am concerned that the current mandatory voter ID proposals have the potential to disenfranchise and discourage many people from participating in the electoral process, a cornerstone of our democracy. In my opinion, the right to vote is one of the most important parts of our society, but these plans threaten to limit people from lower income backgrounds and the LGBTQIA+ community from participating in this process. There are many pitfalls within current proposals which I believe could be exclusionary…

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“If you do what you love, you will do it well and it won’t matter what others think.” Everyone has a dream of what and who they want to be when they grow up. For many trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse young people, dreaming big can bring challenges, mostly because they don’t have the opportunity to see people like them at work.  For Trans Awareness Week our ‘#TransatWork’ campaign is seeking to celebrate and showcase the many talented trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse people who are doing what they do best.  This blog is here to show everyone that gender does not…

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Language matters. In a world filled with social media posts, forums, blogs and online articles; all of them demanding answers to be picked apart, it’s difficult sometimes to find the right words. That would be the case if we were talking about any subject, but when the discussion is around something so personal and individual as gender identity… it’s tough. One of the most exciting things about our work over the past 25 years has been bearing witness to young people changing and moulding the way they express who they are. We’ve seen certain words and phrases disappear while some…

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Find a sport you love and go with it – the possibilities are endless. To me, playing sports is freedom. It’s freedom to be yourself, your body and mind being at one, and being part of a team. It’s hope for new beginnings and challenges and it’s a home where friendships and families are built. As I walked into the sports hall at secondary school and saw all the girls in gym skirts and the boys in rugby shorts, something inside of me pulled and made me feel sick and shaky. I didn’t want to be with the girls, I…

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If you are affected by the issues covered in this blog, please contact us for support – or call Samaritans for someone to listen 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. On World Suicide Prevention Day, we spoke to Nick Barnes, the founder and Chief Executive of the National Centre for Suicide Prevention, Education and Training CIC and Simon Blake, Chief Executive of the social enterprise, Mental Health First Aid England. We asked them some questions about suicide and how best to protect those we love from harm, and they kindly offered us their thoughts. Suicide thrives in secrecy. So, it is…

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We’ve decided to get together with some of our parents and look at a common question being discussed online: Are kids being identified as trans because of the toys they play with or the clothes they like to wear? The answer, of course is, ‘no’. Children play with all sorts of toys and that doesn’t mean for a second they’re transgender. The same goes – of course – for clothing. Nonetheless, some people do still believe that parents are basing their understanding of their child’s gender identity on clothes and toys and it’s important we address such a common misconception….

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