Up to 300 members of the trans community and supporters gathered outside the Daily Mail offices in central London on Monday evening to hold a candlelit vigil for Lucy Meadows.

The 32-year-old teacher was found dead in a house in Lancashire last Tuesday.

Meadows had contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in January to complain about the way she had been treated in the press after her gender transition was made public by a local paper and then the wider national media.

Last December, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote disparagingly about Meadows in a column, although it is understood her complaint to the PCC was not specifically against Littlejohn, but of general press behaviour.

According to the Guardian, on Monday evening, a group of demonstrators started chanting “Shame on you” outside the Daily Mail’s Northcliffe House, in Kensington – but they were swiftly quietened by activists who wanted the vigil to be kept peaceful.

Jane Fae, a trans activist and columnist, said to the Guardian that the issue was not about apportioning blame for Meadows’ death, but about how she was treated in life and after her death by the press.

Trans Media Watch has warned that press coverage appears to have become more transphobic since the publication of last year’s Leveson Report.

Lord Leveson ruled: “that there is a marked tendency in a section of the press to fail to treat members of the transgender and intersex communities with sufficient dignity and respect… parts of the tabloid press continue to seek to ‘out’ transgender people notwithstanding its prohibition in the Editors’ Code.”

Last week, 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 – 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.”

Yesterday, the Press Complaints Commission said it had received a number of complaints about the article – but none directly from the family of Lucy Meadows.