Campaigners plan to stage a candle-lit vigil outside the offices of the Daily Mail at 6pm in memory of Lucy Meadows, a trans woman and teacher who died last week.
Results of a post-mortem have not been released, but Lancashire Police said last Friday that there were “no suspicious circumstances” surrounding her death.
On 20 December 2012, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn described Meadows as “selfish” in a column.
He wrote: “Nathan Upton is entitled to his gender reassignment surgery, but he isn’t entitled to project his personal problems on to impressionable young children.
“By insisting on returning to St Mary Magdalen’s, he is putting his own selfish needs ahead of the well-being of the children he has taught for the past few years.
“It would have been easy for him to disappear quietly at Christmas, have the operation and then return to work as ‘Miss Meadows’ at another school on the other side of town in September. No-one would have been any the wiser.
“But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.”
Littlejohn published the column after a local newspaper revealed that Meadows, a school teacher, was transitioning from male to female.
Her 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.
There is nothing whatsoever to suggest the death of Meadows, which is being reported as suicide, and the column by Littlejohn were in any way connected.
The Daily Mail has 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 – including Labour’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell – with agendas to pursue.”
Campbell had tweeted: “I hope journalists are doorstepping Dacre, Murdoch and Littlejohn for their reaction to Lucy Meadows’ suicide. The Mail really is scum.”
The spokesman then quoted Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade, who stressed “that there is no clear link – indeed any link – between what Littlejohn wrote and the death of Lucy Meadows.”
Meanwhile, 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.”
This vigil will take place outside the Daily Mail offices on Derry Street, Kensington, London, from 6.30pm, Monday 25 March.