This week, after being mocked in the press with an attack piece by the Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, schoolteacher Lucy Meadows was found dead.
Lucy was raised male, but recently underwent a transition to live as female -- which for Littlejohn was reason enough to attack her in his column. Leading with the mocking headline "He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job", Littlejohn belittled and harassed Meadows, referring to her decision as her “personal problems” and playing on the outdated scare tactic that LGBT people are a threat to children.
The vile article capped off a witch-hunt targeting Meadows. Newspapers offered to pay parents for a picture of her, and she complained of having to leave home by the back door and arrive early to school to avoid the packs of journalists.
Sign our petition to the Daily Mail: sack Richard Littlejohn, issue an apology, and institute an editorial review to ensure that this never happens again.
Richard Littlejohn has a long history of using his perch at the the Daily Mail to mock and harass others, from laughing at cerebral palsy to snide insinuation that ethnic minorities got their jobs through discrimination to incessant attacks on the LGBT community, Littlejohn has been a disgrace.
Throughout the article, Littlejohn repeatedly referred to Lucy as “he”, and claimed that getting gender reassignment surgery showed that she didn't care for the children she taught.
Littlejohn claimed that children don’t have the capacity to handle a gender transition -- but kids are smart and don’t carry the bias that adults have absorbed over the years. Just take the experience our campaign manager Kaytee's partner Max had when he came out to his little cousin as a transgender man. The cousin said “Oh, that makes sense. I always thought you were a boy. Now can we go play Legos?” Gender transition is only an issue for kids when the adults in their lives -- many egged on by these sorts of offensive opinion pieces -- make it out to be a problem.
The Daily Mail may thrive on controversy to sell its tabloid papers, but even it knows it went too far this time. In the wake of backlash, the Daily Mail removed the article from its website, but the damage had already been done.
Everyone has the right to say what they think, but mainstream publications like the Daily Mail shouldn't support and promote this sort of hate. The Daily Mail needs to ensure that this never happens again -- by not only yanking Littlejohn’s column and apologizing for the paper’s decision to run the hateful opinion piece, but also instituting an editorial review policy that prevents discriminatory writing from ending up in its paper again.
Tell the Daily Mail that newspaper columns cannot be used for bullying and hate, and that Richard Littlejohn has no place in the papers.
The Guardian: Trans teacher believed to have killed herself had told of 'press harrassment', 3/21/13