A transgender primary school teacher whose decision to begin living openly as a woman became national news in December last year has been found dead.
Lucy Meadows, 32, was found dead in a house in Accrington, Lancashire on Tuesday.
Meadows had recently made the decision to make her gender identity known at St Mary Magdalen’s Church of England Primary School, where she worked as a Year 6 teacher.
She had previously been known to pupils by her birth name, Nathan Upton.
The school supported her decision and wrote to parents in December 2012, informing them: “Mr Upton has recently 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.”
The letter was published in the media, outing Meadows on a national scale. Much of the coverage took a critical view of her decision, with many asking whether the transition was “appropriate” for a teacher.
Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn also wrote about Meadows in a column, claiming her transition would be too “challenging” for children. Since her death the column has been edited to remove the reference to Meadows.
Meadows said at the time: “This has been a long and difficult journey for me, and it was certainly not an easy decision to make.
I’d now ask for my privacy to be respected so that I can continue with my job, which I’m committed to and which I enjoy very much.”
St Mary Magdalen’s Headteacher, Karen Hardman, said the death was a “tremendous shock” to the school, and spoke of Meadows as a “committed and valued” teacher. Mrs Hardman had previously stated that Meadows had her full support for her decision to live as a woman.
Jane Fae, trans activist and columnist, told PinkNews: “Our first thoughts at this time must be sympathy for Lucy’s family and friends, and sadness for a brave young woman whose life has ended at the very moment she was learning how to live.”
“We do not know the reason for her death or whether the press contributed in any way,” Ms Fae added, but she condemned the “monstering” of Meadows by the press as “morally reprehensible”.
The cause of Meadow’s death is not yet known. A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said her death was not being treated as suspicious.
St Mary Magdalen’s have stated they will be working closely with bereavement services for pupils and staff.