NSPCC faces backlash after cutting ties with transgender activist

The children's charity made the move only days after announcing Munroe Bergdorf as the new ambassador for its Childline service

Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf

The NSPCC has been criticised by LGBT campaigners for deciding to cut ties with the transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf, days after it was announced that she would be the new ambassador for its Childline phone support service.

Last week, the charity announced that it had carried out more than 6,000 counselling sessions with children and young people about issues relating to gender and sexuality in the past year, equating to an average of 16 a day.

Bergdorf tweeted on Friday that she was proud to have been announced as Childline’s "first LGBT+ campaigner".

But the charity faced criticism for the decision from some corners, including The Times columnist Janice Turner, who in a tweet accused the NSPCC of hiring a "porn model" for an ambassador and warned of "cancelled direct debits".

Turner’s comments appear to be related to Bergdof posing for Playboy magazine last year.

Bergdorf replied by saying she had never shot porn and demonising those who do was not acceptable.

The NSPCC released a statement on Friday saying: "Munroe Bergdorf has supported the most recent phase of Childline’s campaign, which aims to support children with LGBTQ+ concerns."

But it said Bergdorf would have "no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC".

The announcement gave no reason for dissolving the relationship. When contacted by Third Sector the NSPCC said it had no further comment to give at this stage.

In a social media post, Bergdorf said she was "unbelievably sad" about the decision and accused Childline of bowing down to "anti-LGBT hate and overt transphobia," and back-pedalling on the decision "without giving any reason why".

She added: "My role with Childline was not paid. I accepted their request to become their first LGBT+ campaigner because I care about the wellbeing of all LGBT+ kids who are consistently targeted by British media outlets."

The British LGBT Awards criticised the "disheartening" move, tweeting that the charity had recieved a "taster" of being targeted with anti-LGBT+ hate speech, but adding: "Imagine recieving it every single day [...] that’s why kids need role models like Munroe Bergdorf."

The writer Juno Dawson, a school role model for the LGBT rights charity Stonewall UK, also criticised the decision and urged the charity to "think about what message that sends to young LGBTQ people who desperately need your service. If you’re not there for trans women, you’re not there for them."

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