Transgender primary school teacher who 'took own life' had sought protection from media hounding before her death

Suicide provokes ethics row as emails show how Lucy Meadows had to dodge reporters at school

A transgender teacher who is believed to have committed suicide after her case appeared in the national media said she hoped “bigotry and prejudice” would become things of the past.

In an email, seen by The Independent, sent to a supporter before her death, Lucy Meadows describes how she had to dodge waiting reporters and photographers as she went to work at the primary school in Accrington, Lancashire.

It emerged yesterday that Ms Meadows, who was Nathan  Upton before the sex change, contacted the Press Complaints Commission, which circulated a note urging editors to call off reporters and photographers from pursuing the teacher. The 32-year-old was found dead at her home on Tuesday after apparently taking her own life. The cause of death is not known.

Her decision to undergo gender reassignment in December was reported in a number of national newspapers and was the subject of a controversial comment piece by the Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, who accused the popular teacher of “putting his (sic) own selfish needs ahead of the wellbeing of the children”.

Last night, more than 3,000 people had signed a petition demanding that Mr Littlejohn be sacked and a vigil is planned to be held outside the offices of the Daily Mail in London on Monday to protest at the newspaper’s coverage. Mr Littlejohn’s column has since been removed from the Mail’s website.

Actor Hugh Grant and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell used their Twitter feeds to highlight the case claiming it illustrated another example of press misconduct.

In a statement, the Daily Mail said Littlejohn’s column “emphatically defended the rights of people to have sex change operations but echoed the parents’ concerns about whether it was right for children to have to confront complex gender problems at such a vulnerable young age”.

It added: “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.”

 In her email, Ms Meadows describes her daily life after her gender reassignment was reported. “I became pretty good at avoiding the press before Christmas. I live about a three-minute walk from school as they were parked outside my house as well as school. I’m just glad they didn’t realise I also have a back door.

“I was usually in school before the press arrived and stayed until late so I could avoid them going home. 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,” she said.

However, she seems optimistic about the future. “I do just want to get on with things but the more I talk to (and deal with) people the more I find myself wanting to do something to rectify gaps in people’s knowledge and understanding on LGBT issues and combat bigotry and prejudice.

“I do hope that times really are changing; it’s nice to think that one day in the near future issues like this will be in the past… I guess I started out just wanting to be me and figured out each step I’d take at a time. Not everything has gone the way I wanted but things have fallen into place one way or another and I am happy where I am at the moment. The guidance I have had from the trans community has been generally sound and very appreciated and I’d like to be able to say I have given something back.

“I suppose the best way for me to do this would be educate the people around me and children at school – I am a teacher after all!”

The PCC confirmed it had received a number of complaints in relation to the Littlejohn article, which was headlined: “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job.” A spokesman said: “A complaint was resolved, but we are unable to provide further information at this stage.”

Helen Belcher, of Trans Media Watch, which monitors the reporting of transgender issues, said the case showed it was time for the media and politicians to recognise the harm that reckless reporting can do.

“I want people to come to their senses and realise the effect that coverage can have. Our politicians need to realise that trans people face real problems and the media is generally not helping – it is hindering. We need to sit up and listen,” she said. “Lucy was being pursued by the press through the Christmas holiday and the new year. She had two weeks of constant harassment and monstering.”

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

News

Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Health & Social CareTeacher - Full time and Part time

£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...

History Teacher

£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?