Following the death of transsexual schoolteacher Lucy Meadows yesterday, the press, which had no public interest justification for going after her in the first place, now decided to go after her again anyway. Those participating included the Daily Mail, even though it had pulled the online version of Richard Littlejohn’s offending column from last December.
What characterised much of today’s coverage was misgendering, typified by the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, as the URL for their article, “Sex change fury primary teacher kills himself after return”, shows. Added to this is the faux outrage – “angering parents” and “sparked outrage” – based on a very small sample indeed. And the rest of the Fourth Estate didn’t exactly impress.
The Mail (not accepting comments for legal reasons) told “Primary school teacher, 32, who announced to pupils he was changing sex is found dead at home” which is just clumsy, especially as the copy later states “police went to the teacher's home in Accrington and found her body inside”. The article is on the short side, and no mention is made of the Littlejohn episode.
It was left to the Independent to make an effort – and present a more rounded picture of what happened when the story was first broken. As their piece says, it “provoked a mini-storm among elements of the media”. Quite. There is also the observation that the Littlejohn rant was no longer available. A flavour of the column is given – enough for readers to see the line being taken.
But the death has not caused the press to ease up on its treatment of trans people, as the Sun also showed by going after two prisoners who were undergoing gender reassignment. “Men behind bras ... £100k bill for sex swap lags” was the faux-outrage headline. What was happening was A Very Bad Thing because the prison concerned housed two convicted killers. Who are not involved.
“TWO male inmates at a maximum security prison are having NHS sex swaps — at a cost to taxpayers of nearly £100,000”, readers are told. So the same as if the individuals were being treated anywhere else, then. Some of the paper’s sources have clearly tried to tell the hacks that there is no story here, but not the non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).
The TPA’s Robert Oxley has tried to whip up a bit of hate by pitching the quote “The NHS and justice budgets are not endless pots, so health and prison bosses must justify every penny spent”. One day he and his pals will engage brain before quote generator.
Remember what a parent at Lucy Meadows’ school said: “All the children love him and will continue to do so when he is Miss Meadows”. Can’t we leave it there?