- A group of people who strap on silicone fish tails and swim imitating the mermaid, a mythical creature from old sailor tales
- Many members of the mermaid community identify themselves as mermaids and feel more comfortable as mermaids than they do as people
- However many other members just enjoy acting out the life of fantasy characters and find it good fun
32 year old Caitlin is a mermaid! She is member of a relatively small community of people who identify themselves as mermen and mermaids.
She recalls how as a little girl she would watch the Little Mermaid and would wish she could be a mermaid herself one day.
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She even has a mermaid name – ‘Cyanea’, which she uses in the mermaid community.
Caitlin earns a living creating mermaid tails out of silicone for other mermaid enthusiasts.
She says that her tail is a part of her and she does not feel complete without it.Caitlin said: “I do feel like my tail is a part of me, and I do actually feel like it is a prosthetic limb. I sometimes joke that I wear a prosthetic because I was born with a terrible birth defect - which is legs.”
She adds: “When my tail is off I feel a little bit awkward. Suddenly I have legs and I don't know what to do with them. I feel extremely clumsy.”
Caitlin’s friends also identify as merfolk and embrace the mer lifestyle.
Her friend Essie said that whenever she puts her mermaid tail she forgets about all her problems. She said: “I have a lot of body insecurities; I think a lot of people do. When I am in my tail I don't feel insecure anymore. Because it suddenly doesn't matter what size I am because I am a mermaid and that is what people really focus on.”
Another one of Caitlin friends, Ed, also enjoys spending his free time swimming with a silicone tail on. Ed stated: “The best part of being a merperson is the chance to live out a dream or fantasy that a lot of people, especially kids, have. You know you can put on a costume and become a magical creature and be something other than who you are for a little while.”
He adds: “I'm still being me but I'm being more of myself than I might feel comfortable with just in my day-to-day life.”