SYDNEY (AP) — Across the world, people are increasingly embracing the subculture of “mermaiding.”

At its simplest, these are humans of all genders, shapes and backgrounds who enjoy dressing up as mermaids.

In recent years, a growing number have flocked to mermaid conventions and competitions, formed local groups called “pods,” and poured their savings into a multimillion-dollar mermaid tail industry.

On a planet plagued by war, disease and social upheaval, many merfolk have found life in the water a refuge.

Away from the critics and chaos of life on land, mer-world is the kinder, gentler and more joyful alternative to the real world.

Merfolk say it’s also a world where you can be whoever and whatever you want.


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