Backlash as John Lewis plugs scandal-hit Mermaids and chest binders in staff magazine

Resources produced by trans-activist group Mermaids and information on chest binders have been promoted to parents employed by John Lewis & Partners (JLP).

In an article in the partnership’s internal magazine – received by its 70,000 employees – parents were told how to help their “trans and non-binary children” achieve their “desired gender identity”, and directed to Mermaids’ website.

Mermaids’ governance and management is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission after it emerged the group had been sending chest binders to girls as young as 13 without their parents’ knowledge.


Published to coincide with the start of ‘LGBT History Month’, the in-house magazine stated: “The Mermaids parents forum offers a safe and supportive space for parents to ask questions and learn from other parents of trans children.

“Mermaids offers a number of YouTube videos and tips for both parents and trans children on their website. Social media has also helped spread the word, with influencers sharing their own personal experiences with transitioning.

“Some also share tips on how to safely use clothing and equipment to achieve a person’s desired gender identity, for example, chest binders.”


GP and co-chairman of the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender, Dr Louise Irvine, said: “It is irresponsible of John Lewis to allow the promotion of breast binding and as John Lewis is such a trusted brand it creates the impression that breast binding is harmless and without risk.

“This could encourage more young girls to engage in this harmful practice.”

Helen Joyce, Director of Advocacy for women’s group Sex Matters, added: “this newsletter really demonstrates how far brands are willing to go to placate the vocal minority of activists on their staff.

“Packed with hyperbole, scaremongering and ideologically driven content, it’s a complete departure from the culture and values people associate with the John Lewis brand. It’s a contemptuous dismissal of staff members who – like most people in this country – believe that sex is binary and more important than identity, and value sex-based rights.’


Mermaids has been recently accused of “bullying” schools into ignoring Government guidance on how they should help gender-questioning children.

In a template letter for parents of gender-confused pupils, the trans-activist group pushed schools to reverse decisions such as only using the name and pronouns associated with a child’s biological sex, and urged them not to “prematurely” rely on the Department for Education’s (DfE) guidance.

The DfE guidelines explain: if a child wants to socially transition, schools should give “great weight” to parents’ views; schools must not allow pupils who say they are trans to use toilets and changing rooms of the opposite sex; teachers should use sex-based pronouns; and teachers and pupils should not be compelled to use a gender-confused child’s preferred pronouns.

In response to the criticism, John Lewis claimed it had been “misrepresented”.

Also see:

Childline accused of putting girls at risk from chest binders

Science Museum reinstates ‘insidious’ pro-trans exhibition

Unis dole out money for breast-binders

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