Trans Media Watch calls for press to end ‘character assassination’ of trans people

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Trans Media Watch, the charity dedicated to improving media representation of transgender and intersex people, has welcomed the coroner’s remarks at the inquest into the death of Lucy Meadows.

Yesterday, coroner Michael Singleton said the media should be ashamed of themselves for the way they hounded Meadows after her gender transition was made public by a local paper and then the wider national media last year.

Much of the coverage took a critical view of her decision, with many asking whether the transition was “appropriate” for a teacher.

But her school supported her decision and wrote to parents in December 2012, informing them of the development in a letter. 

Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote disparagingly about Meadows in a column, and was subjected to renewed criticism following her death.

The PCC received a number of complaints about the article – but none directly from the family of Lucy Meadows.

Lucy Meadows, 32, was found dead in a house in Lancashire on Tuesday 19 March.

The coroner conceded that Meadows had made no reference to the media intrusion in one of the suicide notes she left in her house before she killed herself by carbon monoxide poisoning, but Michael Singleton also accused the Daily Mail of “character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher”.

“We are deeply saddened that this inquest should ever have been needed,” said Trans Media Watch (TMW) Chair Jennie Kermode. “We are glad, however, that the coroner has recognised the serious problem of press character assassinations and the devastating effect they can have on people’s lives”

“We welcome those journalists who are working toward change. They have shown that a different kind of journalism is possible,” TMW Secretary Helen Belcher added: “Nobody should have to endure attacks by the press just because of who they are.”