A transgender primary school teacher decided to transition to life as a woman. Her school was supportive:
Mr Upton has made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman after the Christmas break. She will return to work as Miss Meadows.
Richard Littlejohn, a columnist with the Daily Mail (a UK tabloid with a circulation of approximately 2 million), devoted a long column to excoriating her:
But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter? Children as young as seven aren’t equipped to compute this kind of information …
Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows? Anyway, why not Miss Upton?
The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its ‘commitment to diversity and equality’ above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents.
It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.
These are primary school children, for heaven’s sake. Most them still believe in Father Christmas. Let them enjoy their childhood. They will lose their innocence soon enough…
But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.
(I don’t know if Mr Littlejohn has any children, but mine and the Primary school children I taught in Turkey and Thailand were certainly far more matter-of-fact about such matters than adults are.)
Sadly, Miss Meadows is dead; it’s presumed she committed suicide. In an email to a friend, she described how she was hounded by the press, noting that many parents had tried to give positive reactions to the press, but those were ignored:
I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me… Many parents have been quite annoyed with the press too, especially those that were trying to give positive comments but were turned away.
Entirely co-incidentally, no doubt, Littlejohn’s column has been removed from the Daily Mail website. The newspaper issued a statement:
It is regrettable that this tragic death should now be the subject of an orchestrated twitterstorm, fanned by individuals… with agendas to pursue. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lucy Meadows.
This enrages me. I’m one of those on Twitter who’ve tweeted about how nastily Littlejohn and The Mail have behaved. As a white heterosexual male in a nuclear family with a professional job, I’m probably one of the army of “normals” that the Mail wishes to mobilise against the freaks, perverts, lefties and other undersirables (just don’t tell them that my family is mixed race).
No-one has “orchestrated” my outrage. But I certainly do have an agenda to pursue. It’s the agenda of fairness, of tolerance, of live-and-let-live. These are qualities that I associated with Britishness, incidentally; “Britain” is a flag that Littlejohn and The Daily Mail like to wrap themselves in, yet they want a society in which people think it’s right to hound, harrass and hate “minorities”. And I won’t have it.
For “minorities”, read “people”.
Miss Meadows caused me no harm. She was obeying the law, involved in her community, hurting no-one and helping many. My agenda is that such people deserve our respect and support. And if you find men transitioning to women makes you queasy, simple: don’t do it. Just quietly go about your business and don’t interfere with how other people live their lives.
So, in the unlikely event that any Daily Mail journalist or reader ever sees this, yes – I do have an agenda: fairness, tolerance, live-and-let-live. What’s your agenda?
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