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Are We Still Living in the Dark Ages?

Richard Littlejohn

Lucy Meadows, last year known to colleagues and students as Nathan Upton, underwent transitional surgery in December to become a woman. The procedure resulted in her being placed under the spotlight by the media thanks to insensitive parents, who questioned whether it was suitable for her to continue being around children. This is absolutely disgusting! In my opinion, it’s an admirable, brave yet daunting process to put yourself through to fulfil personal happiness and it doesn’t need ravenous journalists circling around like vultures. To add insult to injury, on Tuesday 19th March, the primary school teacher from Accrington, Lancashire was found dead in her home after committing suicide. So was it the media that caused her to take her own life?

Regarded as a “valued member of staff”, Meadows told staff in December that she was undergoing the change and would return to teaching in the new year. The school informed parents via newsletter, which read: “Mr Upton has recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman. After the Christmas break, she will return to work as Miss Meadows.” Despite being accepted by the majority of parents and students, some decided to go to the media, who ostracised Meadows’ integrity as a teacher; highlighting that some of us are clearly still way behind in the tolerance game. No-one, however, quite like Richard Littlejohn (pictured above), the Daily Mail columnist, who wrote an article in January entitled “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job” filled with bias and venom from a poisoned pen.

I understand that the Daily Mail, the second highest distributed newspaper in the UK, has itself quite a reputation already but to hear that it is supporting the ranting of, what I consider to be, a loony, is horrendous. Don’t get me wrong I’m not tarring all journalists with the same brush! In most work places there’s the ‘wrong un’ that drags everyone else down but to use your position to publicly harpoon someone who doesn’t have a fair way to defend themselves goes against any moral code.

Days after the article emerged, Meadows was lambasted by journalists at home on a daily basis. It was so bad that she had to sneak out the back door, hide in her home and stay late at school to outwait the journalists and photographers that were bloodthirsty for her humiliation. I know they might be doing their jobs but why was someone wanting to better themselves in discretion considered newsworthy? People are constantly changing themselves with boob jobs and liposuction so why should this be any different? Go report on something like rape or a murder, don’t report on an innocent victim that is making a huge life choice to better their life. This ‘Big Brother’ lifestyle that seems to dominate today’s society is ridiculous; fair enough to people who chose to be in the spotlight i.e. celebrities because they understand that it comes as part of the job. But preying on people that haven’t done anything wrong other than change an aspect in their life is a stretch too far.

The archaic idea that members of LGBT community are scary for children is absurd. We should be actively educating our children about the changes in society because they haven’t found their beliefs yet and are more open to difference. Parents said that year six pupils from Meadow’s school, aged between 10 and 12, had been informed that the teacher felt she had been “born with a girl’s brain in a boy’s body” and were tolerant of it. So why can’t we all? The change Meadows went through was to better herself, is that something the should be frowned upon? Is it something that we should be teaching our children to do?

Comments have been made regarding her mental instability because it was enough to kill herself and she shouldn’t have been teaching. Being uncomfortable in your body doesn’t mean that you aren’t of sound mind, it does mean you may suffer from severe cases of depression, inadequacy, and loss of identity. I know I’ve felt lost regarding who I am and I’m sure I’m not the only one. As I’ve already discussed the decision to do something that changes your life as well those close to you is a bold move to make. But it doesn’t need to be broadcast to the whole nation and transformed into some extravaganza where the subject is publicly humiliated.

I’m not saying that the media directly influenced Meadows to end her life but I’m sure it didn’t help her to get on with her life. However, it is clear that some of us are still living in the dark ages and not willing to accept those that are different. Come on Britain, things are changing quickly, are you going to be left behind?

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