2022 was a particularly difficult year for the trans community, but amongst the challenges, there has been cause for celebration too.
From the courage of Members of the Scottish Parliament who stood strong in the face of intense opposition and voted for gender recognition reform, to Mermaids being selected as a charity partner for the world’s largest streaming event and the formation of our first-ever Youth Advisory Panel, here are just a few of the more positive things we’ll remember 2022 for.
To the end of November 2022, we answered 3,593 helpline calls and 4,186 web chats, made possible by the support of our brilliant helpline volunteers, who committed over 1,000 hours in 2022. We have also supported more than 900 parents, carers and young people via our online and face-to-face groups.
In 2022, we hosted two residential weekends and a family day, jam-packed with outdoor activities, creative workshops, educational sessions, and opportunities to chat, learn and share. Here’s what those who attended had to say.
“It was so amazing to meet other parents who had and were experiencing similar feelings and challenges to us. It felt like a really important and special day in our lives.”
“[It was a] safe, friendly and joyful space where you don’t have to worry. You and your children can make invaluable connections with others who understand your experiences.”
“It is a really social and relaxed day. The kids have an opportunity to meet and socialise with the peers with no explanations needed or worries about their identity being needed and the adults have a bit of a laugh and exchange loads of info.”
We also attended 23 Pride events, including Trans Pride London, UK Black Pride and Manchester Pride, as well as conferences and events, including Stonewall’s Workplace Conference and The Modern Family Show.
Our volunteer team includes 103 wonderful people, with 22 new volunteers joining the team in the new year.
Since April 2022, volunteers have given an amazing 2,384 hours of their time.
As well as the volunteers supporting the helpline, local groups and events, volunteers have also helped our legal team and ethics committee as well as taking part in media and blogging opportunities throughout the year. This piece by moss was one of our favourites.
Here’s what our volunteers had to say about supporting Mermaids.
“I just love to give back to Mermaids. I will never forget how much support they gave me when I first contacted them. I love watching parents and young people grow in confidence.”
“I enjoy being able to directly support someone and that I’m doing something positive at such a negative time for trans people.”
“It’s hard to pick one special volunteering moment but I think any time someone we’ve worked with reaches a better place is amazing. Sometimes it’s people we see regularly, and sometimes it’s people you only talk to once or twice who come back months later to let you know how they’re getting on. It’s always really nice to know that they’re doing better, and that they want to let us know.”
Policy, Research and Advocacy
Our Policy, Research and Advocacy team has also been hard at work in 2022, on issues such as healthcare, trans inclusion in sport, and challenging proposed legislation on conversion practices.
And 2022 was also the year we launched MANGO, a 12-week programme for trans young people designed to develop knowledge and skills around activism and advocacy.
Some of those involved in MANGO went on to meet with the European Commissioner for Human Rights, impacting her report on the UK, including specific strong recommendations on improving the lives of trans youth.
Here are some quotes from the young people who took part in the programme.
“MANGO… has provided me with an entire network of young adults who are like me and are each incredibly passionate and talented in what they do. It is the most supportive and welcoming environment. Everyone understands each other and wants to help each other to become better.”
“MANGO gives a lot of background information about causes of inequality… educating yourself on issues and topics like ideologies can help you to educate others more easily.”
In 2022, we also established Mermaids’ first Youth Advisory Panel, with 12 trans young people meeting every two months to advise Mermaids on its internal work and projects. YAP has contributed in various impressive ways, including reviewing and giving feedback on our training materials, writing various pieces for our blog and other media outlets, collaborating on a short film for a fundraising activity and contributing to policy and campaigning decisions and materials, including on the NHS England proposals on healthcare.
“My mental health was at an all time low this year but YAP has totally changed that. I have a sense of purpose and a supportive peer community that make me feel valued and part of something special. I have found somewhere I actually belong.”
2022 saw the expansion of our training team, who delivered sessions to 5,566 individuals in settings from hospitals to schools, looked-after children’s services and mental health services. The training team typically works with organisations across the UK, but 2022 saw us deliver (virtually) as far afield as Barcelona, Basel and Dubai!
Here’s what some of our participants had to say about our training in 2022:
“[The trainer] was approachable and non-defensive so we were able to ask honest questions and have meaningful conversations. The course highlighted to me how much additional stress some trans young people experience, which deepened my compassion and understanding.”
“This is the only virtual training session I have done where I have been able to remain completely engaged throughout. [The trainer] was an excellent facilitator and covered the topic thoroughly and sensitively. Really interesting… Will definitely recommend.”
“I thought the training was excellent. [The trainer] was engaging in his delivery and made the space feel really safe – as a trans person, I find this to be particularly important as I’ve been in trans awareness training where this wasn’t the case.”
None of this would have been possible without the incredible fundraising efforts from so many of you, our incredible supporters. In 2022 over 300 of you set yourself personal challenges, from running marathons to 24-hour streams, hosting quiz nights and putting on performances. A further 400 supporters generously chose to use their birthdays as an opportunity to fundraise.
2022 also saw the launch of some exciting corporate partnerships, and we’re thrilled to be working with big-name brands on a long-term basis, helping us to provide vital support to those who need us over the coming months and years.
In October, we were overwhelmed by the incredible support we received when we launched our “Fightback Fund” CrowdFunder. We saw the community and our allies come together to raise an amazing £59,183 to date, and we loved reading your heart-warming messages of solidarity for young trans people.
We finished the year on a festive high, after Mermaids was selected to be one of Jingle Jam’s charity partners. As the world’s biggest fundraising streaming event, Jingle Jam raised a phenomenal £3,448,752 to benefit its 12 chosen charities, and with the money we receive we will be able to increase our provision of local groups, events and residential weekends over the course of 2023.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Mermaids in 2022. Here’s to a better and brighter year for trans young people and their families in 2023.