By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com March 24 2013 7:26 PM ET
The Guardian reports Lucy Meadows, a teacher at St Mary Magdalen’s Church of England Primary School, was found dead in her home on Tuesday, March 19.
Though the official cause of death has not yet been made public, it is believed Meadows committed suicide after being relentlessly hounded by members of the press. Since her gender reassignment became national news, Meadows was continually harassed by paparazzi who would wait outside her home and workplace, forcing her to only leave her house by sneaking out the back door and staying in her classroom until late in the evening to avoid being photographed.
Since the 32-year-old teacher’s death, The Daily Mail is also being accused of becoming a platform for hate after publishing a piece headlined "He’s not only in the wrong body … he’s in the wrong job," by columnist Richard Littlejohn. In the piece, which has now been removed from the Mail website, Littlejohn attacked Meadows and her ability to continue as an educator since he ascertained her transition would have a “devastating effect” on her students and asked, "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?"
Though there has been no proven link between Meadows’ apparent suicide and what Littlejohn wrote, a petition, which has been signed by more than 3000 people, has been started at Change.org urging The Daily Mail to fire Littlejohn and formally apologize for the pain and stress they believe the columnist and the paper caused Meadows. "No one deserves to have their lives turned upside down for their gender identity being thrown into the national spotlight," The petition organizer stated.
A vigil for Meadows is currently being planned to take place outside The Daily Mail offices in Kensington, west London, on Monday, March 25 at 6:30pm.