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Comment: The Lucy Meadows bandwagon

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  1. An interesting piece.

    But here’s the thing. The story about Ms Meadow’s transition may have been in a local paper but it was then Littlejohn who then decided to bring it to national attention. Thus bringing un-necessary attention to Ms Meadows, her family and her pupils.

    The vile comments made by him cut far deeper than I think many of us will ever realise, hence she only felt that her only way out was to take her own life.

    I, along with hundreds of others will hold him partly responsible for this. In the same way that he was quick to point the finger of blame at the two Australian journalists who made a prank call the the Duchess of Cambridges’ hospital bed.

    If it is good for the goose, then it is good for the gander.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Mar 2013, 2:11pm

      Thoroughly agree. If only the Daily Mail could be shut down altogether. Pity it wasn’t caught up in that phone-hacking scandal. Ditto the other hate-mongering rag, the Telegraph.

      1. ColinJones 26 Mar 2013, 2:42pm

        Don’t forget The Sun, Robert. Closing the Sun, Telegraph and Mail would improve the UK press by 1000%.

        1. They shouldn’t be closed – they should be subject to regulation.

          sadly our politicians are too terrified of Rupert Murdoch and his toxic to address to widespread abuses of the British press

          1. In all fairness, even with regulations… a journalist sees regulations and learns tricks on how to push against them or not get caught when regulations are broken – These papers are chasing the money… By breaking regulations, they don’t care, as fines may be less than a juicy story that causes lots of interest

    2. Couldn’t agree more with your comment. Far more people will read his vile comments than the local rag! So what if Lucy never mentioned his comments or paper directly. She just said the press in general!

      And oddly enough I have used change.org many a time! I couldn’t have named one UK based one myself!

    3. > it was then Littlejohn who then decided to bring it to national attention. Th

      No it wasn’t.

      Littlejohn’s column ran on Dec 21st. News reports in the Sun and Mail were on the 19th.

      There’s more than a little manufactured outrage going on on this story.

  2. ColinJones 26 Mar 2013, 2:18pm

    The point is that people like Littlejohn think they can say whatever they like and get away with it and nobody will stand up to them, but hopefully this right wing scumbag and the Daily Mail are starting to see that “free speech” has consequences. Littlejohn might be more worried about opening his bigoted mouth next time.

    1. I doubt that he would think about opening his mouth. He seems to revel in courting controversy!

    2. That’s not his mouth he’s opening. I’m pretty sure it’s his other end.

  3. GulliverUK 26 Mar 2013, 2:19pm

    The gravitas and reach of a local paper is usually fairly insignificant, whilst that of The MIrror or The Daily Mail, is across the UK, so it might feel very different to someone who feels they are being attacked. You say this was a small local newspaper, but until a few months ago Northcliffe Media was part of DMGT, owners of Associated Newspapers, and it had over a hundred local newspapers, over 60 local web sites, and it is still owned by a consortium with DMGT as a majority shareholder.

    You might ask why The Mirror didn’t cover that story in the same way, since local news stories are usually circulated to the Mirror’s editorial department to see if they can be used in the nationals.

    Once thing is for sure, the DM is changing as its readership changes. Once all the adverts for stairlifts and comfy chairs has gone from the tabloid edition you’ll notice a change in pitch. MailOnline is already catering to a different audience from the main paper.

  4. Helen Wilson 26 Mar 2013, 2:34pm

    Been trying to raise awareness of the need to expand this issue to promote the wider issue of positive trans mental health and the need for media to back off trans people while they in vulnerable stages of transition to no avail.

    Littlejohn is just one of the symptoms of a wider media problem (although the Daily Mail accounts for a large portion of it) when it comes to the reporting of trans. The idea that the media have the right to out trans people and report private medical matters is repulsive and would be considered press intrusion in any other medical circumstance. When you factor in the extraordinary high rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts in trans people this form of reporting is the equivalent of pushing someone with a loaded gun.

    You can agree or disagree with anything trans in the media without making it personal to an individual. The Daily Mail seems to weekly run a trans outing story not even excluding trans kids from its witch hunt.

    1. Helen Wilson 26 Mar 2013, 2:41pm

      We need to broaden this debate out now to show the lack of support the NHS is giving trans people. Being trans is not a psychological problem in itself, but, the experience of living with gender dysphoria may well leave you with deep psychological scars. The average age a person transitions is 43, while the average age gender dysphoric feelings start is 5. We need to deal with the damage done to a person over those 38 years to reduce the loss of life in the trans community.

      1. Well put Helen.

      2. killing oneself is because of mental illness one does not die of suicide.

        What scientific evidence exists that being trans is not a psychological problem? what scientific evidence do you have that trans dysphoria exists at the age of 5?

        “We need to deal with the damage done to a person over those 38 years to reduce the loss of life in the trans community” Is this really about numbers?

        what role did Mrs Upton and the Child have in the ‘transition’?

    2. Trans people are also vulnerable after
      Surgery.

  5. I’ve not read the full article I have to admit, but really, do the terms ‘right wing nut job’ and ‘wtf’ belong in such an article?
    Comment or not, let’s keep some standards please!

    1. i agree entirely – why would a writer de-base themselves by using “WTF”

      1. GulliverUK 26 Mar 2013, 3:38pm

        You mean it’s ok to use it in the ‘comments’ section, but your can’t inject passionate frustration in the main article ? :D

        1. paul canning 26 Mar 2013, 5:57pm

          It’s not made clear but this is a cross-post from my blog, with one word change and the addendum excised. It wasn’t written for PinkNews.

          1. My disappointment lies with the Editor of Pink News and not the writer of the comment piece. Come on Pink News! Your editorial standards are usually pretty good!!

  6. The real tragedy here of course is that a woman seems to have cut short the very life that she wanted to lead in the way that she wanted to lead it. She was at a new beginning. We really don’t know why she did what she did but surely those who speak unkindly with such ease (the tabloid media and those who write for them) should be stopping to think. Can they in conscience justify their wicked and ill informed outpourings on the basis that they will sell newspapers and that they play to the prejudices of their readers? What sort of a world are they trying to create: one where the vulnerable and members of minorities are easy targets for no other reason than that they don’t conform to a narrow norm? Do they really care so little about the effects of what they write upon those about whom they write? I really am at a loss to understand what we’re supposed to have done to deserve any of this.

    1. GulliverUK 26 Mar 2013, 3:50pm

      She spent all that effort getting to where she wanted to be, so you just have to know that at the end she was torturered by this coverage to the extent she felt unable to carry on, lost all hope and felt she had no options left. Clearly she was hopeful just months ago, that the change would complete a journey, only to have that interrupted by enormous intrusion in to the most private and sensitive part of anyone’s being. It’s almost impossible to imagine the sequence of events, the day-by-day spiral in to despair, as her greatest hopes were destroyed by shoddy journalists grabbing the low hanging fruit driven by the out-of-control press machine.

      They could have handled that story in lots of ways, as something positive, or simply a neutral page-filler, or thought it was a private matter and not covered it at all. Are we now to get stories about every hysterectomy, or vasectomy carried out locally, every women who has a boob job, or local people who have a nose job?

  7. Jock S. Trap 26 Mar 2013, 3:00pm

    The Daily Mail had a duty. A duty to report in the public interest. This wasn’t.

    Ms Meadow would have been going through a tough enough life without bigoted media and parents.

    As it did make national news was it not the duty of said national press to give an accurate and balanced account of the facts. Not myths, not assumption and certainly a one-sided piece of crap that blatantly was an intrusion into an innocent persons life.

    Sure other did the same but this is the national press and as we’ve seen with the Leveson inquiry people should have their right to privacy.

    If the media sees fit to report then it should do so in an civilised manner. This kind of reporting needs to be so the reader can decide not nasty, vile drivel that clearly seems to “confuse” child curiosity for adult bigotry.

    The media has a duty to help educate the facts not pass on it’s discrimination.

  8. barbararbarrett@btinternet.com 26 Mar 2013, 3:08pm

    Littlejohn’s article was vile filled with ignorance, hate, and hurtful cutting abuse. That’s not free speech it’s hate speech; and against an individual; which makes it an ideal case for the PCC. Lucy’s employment status was protected by Human Rights legislation. Parents angry that this “pervert” (their words) could not be sacked and their local rag being so ineffective brought the case to Littlejohn. Which open the door for a national “hate campaign.
    However, as I’ve counselled, myself argument is not evidence. Ms Meadows may, for example, have been clinically depressed before and during her transition. It needs an Inquest to determin if there is a causal link between the harassment campaign and Lucy’s suicide before petitions start flying around.

  9. Paul may be jumping on this bandwagon for all the wrong reasons.

    How would he like his life, ALL of those details, to be put across the pages of a national newspaper?

    How would he like to be told that he’s not a ‘good role model’ for young children?

    How would he like to be told that he disgusts people?

    Paul should actually see the reality of the situation and not pander to outdated views, prejudices and other aspects as he clearly is jumping on this bandwagon and falling off badly!

  10. Just a few facts, this poor vulnerable individual took there own life following an invasion of their private life by the press and by people fueled by the ideals they promoted.
    Richard Littlejohn made his comments fully in the knowledge that they would be hurtful to the individual and would further whip up the interest of the mob.
    Unfortunately the comments were not only hurtful they also created harm.
    I’m astounded that Pinknews should seek to publish an article defending this vile individual!

  11. Emma Bailey 26 Mar 2013, 3:47pm

    I have never seen a more blatant attempt to take the focus off the real issues than I have with this ‘piece’.

    Real issues like that of media bullying and profiting from other people’s unhappiness with no public interest present at all. Harassment, torment and anguish all added on top of an already difficult time in someone’s life, simply to please an ignorant and bigoted readership.

    Miss Meadows was undoubtedly targeted by many people, however non more so than the Daily Mail.

    I don’t care who orchestrated these petitions (what a feeble argument anyway), the fact they are raising awareness of the hate and misrepresentation of people, which regularly takes place in the UK is a great thing!

    Littlejohn and his apologists are Dinosaurs and they only have one place to go.

  12. GulliverUK 26 Mar 2013, 4:03pm

    To be fair to Paul, half his article is discussing the use of petition websites – suggesting that change.org might not be so progressive, whilst Allout most certainly is, and SumOfUs also. He says change.org’s progressive credentials were recently exposed – I didn’t see that, and if I didn’t I’m fairly sure many didn’t – I think that’s something I might notice.

    The point is if a petition can reach out and grab attention, get marketed if you like, and if in the end it gains enough support to make someone do something, then I’m all for it. I never imagined that change.org would be entirely progressive — for my point of view, and I wouldn’t be surprised by religious groups using it to petition against us – I won’t see their petition as having validity, but they will.

    I don’t doubt Paul’s credentials or that he is honerable, and it is fair to point out that Trinity Mirror should be facing some pressure over its local paper. I don’t see him defending Littlejohn at all.

    1. paul canning 27 Mar 2013, 11:47am

      I thank you …

      1. … but in that case your points in that respect are invalid, since, as Gulliver says, if a petition causes action then does it really matter if someone is making money out of it? Just because something isn’t entirely altruistic, does that make it entirely corrupt? I suppose what i’m trying to say is, then – so what?

  13. Tamlyn MacPherson 26 Mar 2013, 4:27pm

    There is a little niggle in my mind that says, if this had been about a teacher coming out as gay or lesbian and then subsequently named and humiliated on a national scale, would people be so dismissive? My experiences show that there is a dismissiveness of Trans issues, even from within the LGBT community. Regardless whether Littlejohn was directly responsible or not, over the years he has sought to spread contempt and hatred of most minority groups. It is those attitudes that make life so much harder for people struggling to be accepted for their sexuality and/or gender identity, and bigots like Littlejohn do nothing but fan the flames of mistrust, ignorance and hatred. Would his head on a spike bring her back? No, but it would send a message that those who campaign for intolerence and hate will be held accountable when the consequences of their hatemongering lead to tragedies such as this.

    Tamz
    xXx

  14. There but for the fact of his article, she would not have drawn the media attention she did and would probably be alive today.

    His may have been a match, but he lit the fire.

    She was not a publicity craving celebrity, she was just someone getting on with her life the best was she knew how.

    She had no support for the onslaught that his article started. I have no time for the man, he has blood on his hands as far as I am concerned.

    1. paul canning 26 Mar 2013, 6:05pm

      Littlejohn didn’t start the ‘media attention’, he folllowed it. It started in the local press then press agencies added to the monstering which ended up in the national press (where The Sun called Lucy ‘he’). Then Littlejohn wrote his opinion piece.

      1. Oh that makes his involvement ok then. Unfortunately he has been throwing stones at people for a long time and has maybe thrown one too many.

        Please don’t make out his actions didn’t add pain to an already bad siuation, as far as I am concerned his added comments are the straw that broke the camels back.

    2. paul canning 26 Mar 2013, 6:06pm

      Littlejohn didn’t start the ‘media attention’, he folllowed it. It started in the local press then press agencies added to the monstering which ended up in the national press (where The Sun called Lucy ‘he’). Then Littlejohn wrote his opinion piece

      1. paul canning 26 Mar 2013, 7:41pm

        Down votes on facts … fine.

        Here’s Trans Media Watch:

        We understand the anger behind calls for Richard Littlejohn to be sacked. He has persistently belittled trans people in his columns, but we feel that the real problem is bigger than one man and we don’t want to see him become a scapegoat, allowing others to avoid responsibility.

        Here’s trans journalist Jane Fae:

        i personally think the Sun’s reporting of Lucy is as bad or worse than anything that Littlejohn wrote.

        1. So your saying that the local paper had the same reach as the Daily Mail, had he not picked up on the local paper it would have been a manageble situation, he created a media storm with his Opinion and left her no where to go with no support.

          1. paul canning 27 Mar 2013, 11:51am

            Read this, then tell me the entire focus should be on Littlejohn http://dan-waddell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/here-there-be-monstering.html

          2. Paul, you are being very black and white, no one has said entire focus but he is currently taking no responsibility and quite frankly, he has been so horrible to so many people, I’m not surprised people are going after him.

            The fact his article came after others does make it worse, anyone with an ounce of compassion would have seen that she was being bashed already and what does he do. Gets a big stick and finishes the job off.

  15. While Britain has such an irresponsible and unregulated press, and a PM who is too desperate to be Rupert Murdoch’s bitch-boy (actually the same would be true of Miliband) to actually address press abuse, then I think the Daily Mail and its staff and journalists are absolutely fair game.

    I want Richard Littlejohn and Paul Dacre’s (metaphorical) heads on a stick.

    Britain desperately needs an independent press regulator.

    And to those who whine about ‘freedom of the press’ (also known as ‘freedom to harass and abuse private citizens with zero consequence) I’d point out that Finland is always in the Top 5 of the World Free Press index, yet they have a regulator which is capable of imposing huge fines against newspapers.

  16. thelostdot 26 Mar 2013, 6:32pm

    “appears to have been hijacked by people with an agenda other than the welfare of the people concerned.”

    I disagree entirely. Where is the evidence for this? The fact of what Lucy Meadows did and didn’t think about isn’t really relevant. I do think it should be a number of people, and that the punishment should be more realistic than “sacking”. But I am qute clear that Lucy Meadows was treated awfully by newspapers and journalists like Littlejohn. I am dissapointed at TMW watering down the desire for action in what seems an unforgivably selfish act.

  17. So Paul Canning writes an article to try and get the ‘right wing nut job’ off the hook. Idiot.

    1. It wasn’t so long ago that the same writer, or someone like him, would have been writing a story to destroy the life of some teacher who had gotten a divorce, because we all know just how horrible it is to have a teacher that is divorced around children, especially those so young that they are just beginning to learn about life. Such hogwash. The very idea that because the students were young and it would somehow harm them to have a teacher that transitioned speaks to the ignorance of what affects a child/student. If nothing else these children would have gained valuable insight to the strength their teacher showed to go forward with living honestly. I don’t doubt that the suicide was brought on indirectly or directly by the increasing verbal violence she faced because of such articles and people.

  18. Scott John Harrison 26 Mar 2013, 8:10pm

    I am one of the creators of the change.org Petition – this is just a big data scare tactic story. You don’t know how technology works and how to control your data.

    The fact is if you signed up for this campaign you can decide what e-mails you want to receive.

    You are not in any database outside of what you want to be in and if you actually don’t want your personal e-mail address set up in some database somewhere – it is trivial to set up a disposable e-mail address just to sign a petition. (I have 7 regular e-mail addresses – only 2 I use for my personal e-mails and 1 I use for my personal inbox where I don’t even send e-mails out of.

    I don’t have any access to your e-mail address at all – and I can’t even send out update e-mails unmoderated since our petition has over 10,000 signatures. So we are unable to spam you with Viagra ads even if I wanted to.

    1. Scott John Harrison 26 Mar 2013, 9:19pm

      Also I feel it is important to point out the change.org branding helps us more than we help them. Even when people are linking to sumofus they are calling it in their social media posts the “Change.org petition” It gives us a name to put forward which isn’t “Scott John Harrison and Sam Morris’s petition against the Daily Mail”. We are literally nobodies in the media world but because of this we are “An Orchestrated Twitterstorm”.

      The fact that the Vigil didn’t have a leader shows how much our “Clicktavism” can actually cause – Do not say we are doing nothing just because we can not afford to travel down the length of the country to protest. I have been able to send out press release talk to hundreds of people, get quoted Internationally right from my keyboard. I also find it very interesting you asked us why we didn’t use a UK petitioning site without even mentioning a one.

  19. Sam Morris 26 Mar 2013, 9:08pm

    You couldn’t be more wrong. I started the petition, Change.org is a platform that allowed me to do that. I chose it due to the fact that I’d seen others successfully use it to meet their goals.

    The media harassment would not have occurred had Richard Littlejohn published his abusive article, and thus we are going after him. Your post here implies that it would have happened without him, which isn’t the case. Littlejohn published a story in a national paper whos audience is mostly hateful people, bringing undue media attention to her. If it had stayed within the local paper, nothing would have come of it.

    Oh, and to the idea that we are farming email addresses: guess what? I can’t see the email addresses of those whom sign the petition. Seriously, I see a name, a date and time of signature, and what number they were.

    Another thing; if you’re going to use the header image I made, then the least you could do is use all of it. Now it just looks like it says “N’sack”.

  20. Scott John Harrison 26 Mar 2013, 10:15pm

    Also – I just noticed something else – They are saying that change.org is selling your information – When pink News itself has 38 seperate 3rd party tracking cookies on this article.

    While change.org only has 6 (They both have these 6) and in that case all of them are the one-click integration into social media websites so you can share a link by clicking a button.

    If you want to complain about people selling your information – Don’t be trying to collect user information yourselves.

  21. I don’t think it advances the discussion to get mired down in debate on how broke the ‘story’ first. All the journalists who sought to join in and display their crass ignorance and lack of humanity are part of a mob who act as the mouthpiece for the ignorant masses still struggling with the idea that their comfort blanket of a binary code for human sexuality, anatomy and gender identity is full of holes.
    Human beings are far more complex than the readers of of rags like the DM believe. Outright racism in the press has declined, thanks in-part to legislation, although it still appears in a coded form. There has also been a noticeable shift in reporting on issues affecting gay people, but the same sex marriage legislation debate is now bringing the bigots out again .
    contd:

    1. paul canning 28 Mar 2013, 11:48pm

      Where do you think the national papers find these stories? If there was half the attention put onto the sources then something like this would be far less likely to occur again. Littlejohn is an obvious target, less so the Manchester Press agency actually responsible for camping out outside the school and home and accessing private information, such as photos.

      1. Ninth Sphere 29 Mar 2013, 1:49pm

        Fine then, hold all of them accountable, however your trying to vindicate littlejohn holds little merit as he is “also” one of those responsible for Ms. Meadows clinical depression, and subsequent suicide, and his readership is on a national scale.

  22. contd:
    However, when the press are looking around for new victims to feel superior about, the current default is on trans and intersex people. Men in particular are terrified of any aspect of life that calls into question the value of ‘maleness’, especially when transwomen reject their ‘male’ genitalia. Society is also very wary of the whole subject of intersex, so wary, that even today, thousands of intersex children are subjected to cosmetic surgery to their genitalia if it does not match up to society’s ‘perfect’ blueprint. Of course, one need not look any further than the press hysteria regarding Caster Semenya, culminating in a leak of her medical records. Part of the excitement of course was that journalists, denied the opportunity to denigrate a great athlete on grounds of her race could write acres of text about a ‘male athlete pretending to be female’ or hinting at some link with being black and intersex.

  23. Colin (London) 10 Apr 2013, 4:45pm

    Neither a man nor a newspaper including it’s employees I want anything to do with. Scum

  24. LITTLEJOHN MUST GO 16 Apr 2013, 3:18pm

    It only costs a stamp to make a difference – http://www.facebook.com/events/578348408857101/?fref=ts

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