A coroner investigating the suicide of transgender British teacher Lucy Meadows has slammed the media for their ‘ill informed bigotry’.
Meadows killed herself on 19 March, aged 32 – and the hearing today confirmed it was of carbon monoxide poisoning.
She had been the subject of media reports, particularly in national newspaper the Daily Mail, where columnist Richard Littlejohn had criticized her for transition while still working in at St Mary Magdalen’s Primary School, in Accrington, Lancashire, north west England.
Littlejohn said: ‘He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job.’
It emerged at the inquest that Meadows had written to the Press Complaints Commission complaining about being harassed by the media, and citing the Littlejohn article.
Coroner Michael Singleton, speaking at Meadows’ inquest today, said: ‘To the members of the press, I say shame. Shame on all of you.’
The Guardian reports he was ‘appalled’ by the coverage.
He said he hoped journalists would write ‘sympathetic and sensitive’ reports of the inquest. But, he added: ‘I do not hold my breath.’
The Guardian reports him as saying: ‘Lucy Meadows was not somebody who had thrust herself into the public limelight. She was not a celebrity. She had done nothing wrong.
‘Her only crime was to be different. Not by choice but by some trick of nature. And yet the press saw fit to treat her in the way that they did.’
And he pledged to write to Culture Secretary Maria Miller urging the government to fully implement the recommendations of the Leveson Report into standards in the British press, which also highlighted trans discrimination as common.
He felt this would help prevent a similar suicide again.
But he did note Meadows had not mentioned the press in her suicide letters.
Meadows’ death sparked a large protest outside the Daily Mail offices. The paper has subsequently given space to Jane Fae, a regular correspondent for GSN, to write about transgender issues.