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Trans teacher found dead after tabloid press tells her story

Primary school transgender teacher Lucy Meadows found dead in Lancashire, England after tabloid the Daily Mail reveals her ‘shock’ story
How the Daily Mail reported the transition of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows in December 2012: She has now been found dead.

A primary school transgender teacher – who was subject of a ‘shock’ story about her transition in British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail – has been found dead.

Some commentators are claiming the death was a suicide, although this has not yet been verified.

The death of Lucy Meadows, 32, was announced to pupils and staff at St Mary Magdalen’s School, in Accrington, Lancashire, north west England where she taught.

In a statement made to Gay Star News, a Lancashire Police spokesman said: ‘At 4.45pm on Tuesday (19 March) police were called by the ambulance service to a report of a sudden death at an address on Ramsbottom Street in Accrington.

‘On arrival they found the body of a 32 year old woman. There are no suspicious circumstances and a file will be prepared and passed to the coroner.’

Headteacher Karen Hardman wrote on the school’s website, saying: ‘It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death of Miss Lucy Meadows.

‘Our staff will be working closely with bereavement teams and are here to offer the children and yourselves any support in any way we can.’

In December 2012, tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail ran a story with the headline ‘Shock at CofE [Church of England] school where Mr Upton will return after Christmas as Miss Meadows’.

Columnist Richard Littlejohn also wrote an article asking if anyone had thought of the ‘devastating effect’ Meadows was having on children who are ‘not equipped to compute this kind of information’.

‘Pre-pubescent boys and girls haven’t even had the chance to come to terms with the changes in their own bodies,’ he said.

Helen Belcher, director of Trans Media Watch, claimed Meadows had committed suicide. Gay Star News notes, however, this has not been independently verified by a coroner.

She said: ‘Reports of Lucy’s suicide are hugely distressing, and our thoughts must be with her family, friends, colleagues and pupils right now.

‘Many trans people have reported problems following unwanted press exposure, something that Lord Justice Leveson identified in his report. Lucy’s national exposure, simply for deciding to be herself, must have amplified those problems.’

Leveson's report into standards in the British press last year particularly highlighted discriminatory reporting about transgender people. A shake-up of press standards is currently being debated in the UK.

Speaking to GSN, trans activist Jane Fae said: ‘At this moment, we do not know the cause of Lucy’s death. Whatever the reason it’s incredibly sad, that someone who is just beginning to live their life is no longer with us.

‘For now, all that we can do as a community is think of her and of her courage in coming out in an environment that could be perceived as many as a hostile place to do so. Further comment must await.’

If you are considering suicide, call the LGBT switchboard (before 11pm) at +44 (0)300 330 0630, the Samaritans at +44 (0)8457 909 090, or 999 in the UK.

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