Tuesday 26 March 2013


I don't have much time for the Daily Mail - I have even less for Richard Littlejohn. Newspapers of all persuasions don't have a good standing with the British public. You might have thought that after the Leveson enquiry, any newspaper wanting to rebuild trust, would have kept its head down.

Nathan Upton was a teacher at St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington. Before the Christmas break the parents of that children at the school were informed in a newsletter that after the break Nathan Upton would be coming back to work after the holiday however this time as Lucy Meadows.

The newsletter said: "Mr Upton has made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman after the Christmas break. She will return to work as Miss Meadows." It said the school was fully supporting him throughout his 'transition' and added: "We are proud of our commitment to equality and diversity among our staff and children."

It started out as confusion from parents, who simply didn't know what do think of it all. Most seemed to be simply concerned about the adjustment children would have to face rather than actively malicious. However, the more bigoted members of the community approached the Daily Mail, where Lucy Meadows was attacked by Richard Littlejohn who decided to single her out in the national paper.

No one deserves to have their lives turned upside down because of their gender identity being thrown into the national spotlight. The reason the parents who had a problem went to the Daily Mail is that there was no way to get her fired under equal opportunity law. So they tried to give the school bad press by saying how terrible it is that she is allowed to live her life freely. While little is known about the amount of abuse she ended up getting, the result is the same no matter what.
Richard Littlejohn wrote "He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job".
Lucy Meadows became pretty good at avoiding the press. She slipped out of her back door before the paparazzi arrived and crept round to school long before lessons started, staying in the classroom way after home time. But it was difficult, the primary school teacher told a friend via email in January, knowing there was a price on her head. "I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me," she wrote on New Year's Day, just before she contacted the Press Complaints Commission, asking for journalists and photographers to stop hanging around outside her school and home in Accrington, Lancashire.

Lucy Meadows was found dead this week. If it was suicide, it was brought on from the hounding she received orchestrated by Littlejohn at the Daily Mail. The death of Lucy Meadows was enough for the daily mail to take down Littlejohns original article without comment. Archived Here

Meadows contacted the PCC in January to complain about the way she had been treated in the press. Her death on Tuesday is not being treated as suspicious, and it is believed she killed herself.
The Press Complaints Commission - which is to be replaced as one of the outcomes of Levinson. Has a clause in the editors' code, about discrimination, states that the press "must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability".

The Press Complaints Commission, does not have a good track record on this issue. Having considered objections of an Observer column by Julie Burchill that caused outrage. Decided there was no breach of the editors' code of practice. The Observer's editor, John Mulholland, issued an apology, saying the newspaper had "got it wrong" in publishing the article. But the PCC did not find any problem with the column. Which referred to transgender people as "screaming mimis", "bed-wetters in bad wigs" and "dicks in chicks' clothing".
Jane Fae, a campaigning journalist, said the issue was not about apportioning blame for Meadows' death, but about how she was treated in life and after her death – when some tabloids "were still writing about her as a man".
In the New Year's Day email to a friend, Lucy Meadows complained that the media had published one of her wedding photos, and had lifted other pictures from her siblings' Facebook pages.
Helen Belcher, director of TransMedia Watch, an organisation that monitors representation of transgender people in the media, said that press coverage had been more virulent since Leveson released his report. "It feels to me like they're sticking two fingers up at Leveson."
Kate Green, the Labour MP for Urmston and Stretford and shadow minister for women and equalities, said: "It is totally unacceptable to humiliate people or invade someone's privacy when there is absolutely no public interest in the story. Surely the media have learned from Leveson to stop this kind of horrendous intrusion into individual's private lives."

The Daily Mail defended Littlejohn's column. A spokesman said: "It is regrettable that this tragic death should now be the subject of an orchestrated Twitterstorm, fanned by individuals with agendas to pursue."
300 members of the public gathered outside the Daily Mail headquarters yesterday evening to hold a vigil in memory of Lucy Meadows.

I hate prejudice whether it is done by creed, colour, sexual orientation, gender reconfiguration or any other reason. I hate even more those who would support and encourage prejudice in others. If you are like me, you might like to sign a petition against Littlejohn.   Click Here



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