Complaint about transgender charity advert rejected by regulator

The fundraising regulator has rejected a complaint claiming a Youtube advert for a transgender charity left children “scared and confused”.

The complainant raised the issue after an eight-year-old child was watching an age appropriate Youtube video that contained a fundraising advertisement for Mermaids, the charity that supports transgender young people.

They had told the regulator that the video set a “worrying precedent for children to be targeted by a fundraiser, circumventing parental safeguards put in place to keep children free of this sort of manipulative pressure”.

But in rejecting the complaint the regulator said “we saw no evidence to suggest that the charity deliberately targeted its fundraising attached to this video at children”.

The two-minute video called Ethan tells the story of a young person supported by the charity, together with a link to its Virgin Money Giving page.

The complaint was referred by the regulator to the charity, which said that the video was not aimed at a particular audience or age group.

The regulator said: “The charity said that it regretted any confusion and upset the video may have caused to the eight-year-old child. It said that it hoped that the complainant could use the ‘context of this film to explain to the child concerned that a small number of children and young people experience a mismatch between their gender assigned at birth and their gender identity, and how important respect of someone’s identity is’.”

The regulator added: “We did not consider that in directing people to its generic Virgin Money Giving page, the charity attempted to solicit regular donations from those under 18. Therefore, we found that the charity had not breached the requirement in the code to take reasonable steps to avoid asking for regular donations from anyone aged under 18.

“We also saw no evidence that the charity attempted to place unreasonable pressure on the viewer to donate. Therefore, the charity had not breached the part of code, which states that fundraising materials must not pressurise potential donors.

“Finally, the charity replied promptly to the complaint, attempting to address all the points made. Therefore, the charity had not breached the complaint handling section of the code.”

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