A parliamentary debate is being planned in order to learn lessons from the treatment of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows, who died last week.
Her MP Graham Jones, Labour backbencher, is seeking to debate in parliament about the circumstances leading to Meadows’ death.
After a local newspaper ‘outed’ her last December, the Daily Mail also reported on her transition and columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote an opinion piece stating she was ‘in the wrong job’.
Speaking to Politics.co.uk, Jones said the article was a ‘dark moment for the transgender community and the Lucy Meadows case is a deplorable tragedy.’
‘It also raises the issue about the way the transgender community are treated and I think that they’ve had an unfair press,’ he said.
‘I think that a debate around the issues of transgender and other minorities will perhaps highlight the oppressive nature of some of the journalistic articles that have appeared over time targeting transgender people.’
Jones is demanding a regulatory system must be used to control newspapers, despite the recent political consensus it would curtail the freedom of the press.
‘My view on this is I’m much less concerned about freedom of the press and far more concerned about the freedom of the British public, the reader,’ he added.
Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, has also tabled an early day motion condemning misrepresentation of transgender people in the British media.
It states misrepresentation of trans people has an ‘extremely damaging impact on those individuals who are named, on the wider transgender community and on the public’s perception of transgender people.’
The motion also noted with concern tabloid newspapers continued to refer to Meadows as a man, and use the incorrect gender pronouns.
A Sum of Us petition, which currently stands at having over 200,000 signatures, was officially delivered to the Daily Mail’s offices today (27 March).
‘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 the paper again,’ the petition reads.
In a statement made to Gay Star News, hate crime charity StopHateUK’s Una Morris described the parliamentary debate as a ‘positive step for trans people’.
Noting only 299 gender identity hate crimes were recorded by police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2011, Morris said: ‘In our experience it is a very real fear for some trans people that reporting hate crime to the police and involvement in the criminal justice process as a witness will result in details of the incident they experienced being reported in the media, for no other reason than they are a trans person.’
Jane Fae, trans activist, told GSN parliament must realize the outpouring of outrage and grief is not because of some unproven cause of death.
She said: ‘It is because of the appalling way the press treated Lucy in life, and the vile way they treated her after her death.
‘It may be the press has finally gone too far.’