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Representatives from the support group Mermaids are attending Brighton Pride to share their life stories and experiences in the Trans Exhibition and Performance Tent. Mermaids will also have an information stall within the Community Village.

Formed in 1995 by a group of parents brought together by their children’s longstanding gender issues, Mermaids has evolved and grown to meet demand and offer appropriate resources to young people, their families and carers, and professionals working with gender variant young people. Formed primarily as a support group, their focus has widened dramatically over the last few years. Mermaids supports children and young people up to 19 years old suffering from gender identity issues, and their families, and professionals involved in their care.

Mermaids work to reduce isolation and loneliness for parents and young people dealing with gender issues, empower families and young people with the tools they need to negotiate the education and health services, reduce suicidality and self-harm in the young people who contact Mermaids, equip their parents to support their children to the same end, improve self-esteem and social functioning in young people suffering with gender issues and improve awareness, understanding and practices of GP’s, CAMHS, Social Services and other professionals. They also run a helpline, an email support service, a parent’s forum and a separate teens forum.

Billie Lewis volunteer Chair of the Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum and Access & Inclusion Manager for Brighton Pride said: “Mermaids contribution this year is the first time that Trans children have been able to be included in the Brighton Pride Community Village as equals with their peers and have an active role in its delivery. I am delighted that some of the service users will be volunteering with us too.”

Dawn Wight-Lewis of Mermaids said: “Mermaids are a brilliant support group, they were the first group I found that actually listened to the parents. It was nice to know that I was not alone, I hope that by having our info stall and by holding a talk with Q&A in the Trans Tent that other parents and young people will feel comfortable to reach out for support if they need it.”

You can catch up with Mermaids here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Brighton Pride Festival, Sat 6th August 2016, tickets are available here

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