/ Daily Mail feeding frenzy makes a teacher commit suicide
All in the week where the political parties were deciding on how to deal with the regulation of the press, and the Leveson Inquiry
Richard Littlejohn is societies version of the dumb rebel at school that gets egged on by other pupils to do the wrong thing to give everyone some entertainment. The public want it, so that's what he dishes out. It's incredibly sad that someone's killed themselves but don't blame the idiot who wrote the article, blame every daily mail reader, everyone who reads the "I slept with my sister/I got raped in prison/my boob job went wrong..." filth that gets spewed out of OK magazine et al. every week, every person who makes a snide comment about a fat person in the street, every person who denigrates someone on reality TV... In other words, blame human nature.
Regulate the press all you like but you'll never change how horrible people are to each other, half the time without even realising it.
You know this how?
I'm the last person to defend Littlejohn, the man is a complete @rse, but I think you are just as guilty of sensationalising an issue as he is.
So, does having the tabloid press turn up on your doorstep help your situation, if you are not " stable and well adjusted and not depressed"?
And does Richard Littlejohn give a toss about that, as long as he can spout his bile?
Would RJ not start an "outing" campaign if he thought the other tabloids might go "feeding frenzy"?
Who knows whether or not this person had underlying issues, perhaps that is reason enough to tread carefully around the feelings of others.
Littlejon is a total knob too and I doubt he had any consideration for how this would affect the person concerned.
Here's a quote from the article I linked to in the OP
"Newspapers offered to pay parents for a picture of her, and she complained of having to leave home by the back door and arrive early to school to avoid the packs of journalists."
"freedom of the press" at it's best?
Or "freedom of the press" to do whatever the f*ck they want to, and not give a shit about the potential consequences of pursuing someone?
Did they not learn a single thing from their pursuit of the nurse who killed herself because of how the press portrayed her over the scam phonecall to the hospital where the new Queen-elect was in hospital with morning sickness?
How many copies of that newspaper do you think got sold? How many people read that article and decided not to buy it again, how many people read it and thought "this is wrong" compared to how many people read it and felt good about themselves? If society wants to read about that kind of thing then who are you to decide that they can't?
Is the original article by Littlejohn available to read?
It's in interesting view, but I see it the other way round really.
I think that people - when they have no responsibility to act otherwise - are in general stupid, nasty and easily led. I think that if you're in a position of influencing opinion, the way that journalists, politicians and leaders of organisations are, then you bear the responsibility.
As such, I hope that Richard Littlejohn never sleeps again, and that he spends every minute of every hour haunted by the suffering, hatred and evil that have been his only contribution to this world.
> Did they not learn a single thing from their pursuit of the nurse who killed herself because of how the press portrayed her over the scam phonecall to the hospital where the new Queen-elect was in hospital with morning sickness?
Incidentally, I remember that story of the hoax call before the woman committed suicide, I remember the comments people made about the woman who took that call. Of course that all changed after she'd died but before, people couldn't get enough of saying how stupid she'd been. It wasn't the press that killed her, it was the people's attitude towards her.
I think a more relevant figure might be the number of journalists that turned up to doorstop this teacher...
This is more about how the press create a feeding frenzy, and go at it...
Remember the Christopher Jefferies feeding frenzy over the murder of Joanna Yates?
Have the press learned one little thing from that?
> I think a more relevant figure might be the number of journalists that turned up to doorstop this teacher...
Don't you think the two are connected?
> Have the press learned one little thing from that?
They appear to have learned what people want and how to give it to them.
The press did their bit about guiding people's attitudes about "how stupid did she have to be" to forward on that call.
and wash their hands of any consequences of their persecution...
Isn't that a bit elitist? No one elected the journalists, they're just working for a business, making money through supply and demand. The press should be impartial, free and accurate. They're not their to create a better world.
Nasty, small minded article, 'protecting children' used as an excuse for pushing his own bigotry.
> The press did their bit about guiding people's attitudes about "how stupid did she have to be" to forward on that call.
I didn't come across that, I heard reasonably impartial bbc coverage and I heard peoples comments. If you think the only reason people thought she was stupid was because the press told them to think that then you're misguided. People were perfectly capable of coming to that small minded judgement themselves.
> Isn't that a bit elitist? No one elected the journalists, they're just working for a business, making money through supply and demand. The press should be impartial, free and accurate. They're not their to create a better world.
Well I know that the press have absolutely no integrity and are solely motivated by money, regardless of the consequence on the people they write about, but strangely, I wish they were better people.
I find your view that "it's society's fault" a total cop-out, because it absolves the person ruining someone else's life for money of any responsibility. They were only doing it for money after all, so it's OK, isn't it?
I don't think you can set up a system that incentivises integrity. So in lieu of that, I just hope that people who ruin other people's lives for money die miserable, alone and regretful. What else can I do?
Weird though, the page pops up for about a second and then disappears and displays the message "The address is not valid".
Will do some Googling and report back...
Some journalists are there for exactly that reason!
Some are just there to make money, to write puff pieces, and to put forward their owner's opinions.
eg The Sun supports Fracking
Purely coincidentally - I'm sure- Rupert Murdoch has a significant investment in a company that extracts natural gas from shale...
No conflict of interest at all, there, honest...
It is societies fault, they're the ones who keep paying the money, they're the ones feeding the machine. The judge is responsible for the execution, the cop out would be to blame the executioner.
I'd rather have a free press.
I haven't got a solution, of course.
We haven't got a free press, either, when Murdoch can make a tweet on twitter, and The Sun and The New York Times can glorify fracking, simply because Murdoch has investments in Genie Oil & Gas.
> It is societies fault, they're the ones who keep paying the money, they're the ones feeding the machine. The judge is responsible for the execution, the cop out would be to blame the executioner.
No. This is the same argument you hear from every purveyor of poisonous filth, such as MacDonalds, or the tobacco companies, or indeed the Mail. "We're only giving people what they want, it's their fault for consuming our disgusting filth that we spend millions on marketing every year".
The way the economy works is not the fantasy expounded by the purveyors of the toxic products we consume. People buy whatever they're presented with if it's momentarily satisfying despite being toxic. The demand for this stuff is cooked up by those who manufacture the product. Preying on people's addiction to nicotine, or desire to sneer at people who are already marginalised, or craving for obscene amounts of fat, salt and sugar delivered in single convenient drive-in dose is not a morally neutral act of providing supply to pre-existing demand. The demand only exists because of the supply, and the supplier is doing everything in their power to increase that demand, regardless of the consequence for the consumer or any other party who suffers as collateral damage.
There's no excuse for supplying and expanding the market for disgusting toxic filth that ruins peoples lives. If that's what you do for a living (this is not aimed at you Ben!) then I hope you die miserable, alone and regretful, because you bear full responsibility for the misery and suffering you cause.
Lucy was a teacher, I doubt it was Littlejohn that pushed her over the edge. Her charges in school would knock him into a cocked hat and then there is Gove.
I'm not sure I see the distinction. I see the gutter press stuff as analogous to violent or otherwise distasteful pornography. There is a demand for it that presumably comes from somewhere deep in our biology. A decent person would have no hand in servicing that demand. The morally bankrupt however have no qualms with getting stuck in - there's good money to be made after all.
Surely it would have been better to make a complete change, and start at a new school.
The distinction is that one is supplying a pre-existing demand and the other is manipulating a demand to supply. I'm not saying either are morally good but the latter is responsible in a way the former isn't because the junk food companies are responsible for both the demand and the supply, where as the tabloids are only responsible for the supply. The demand for nasty, abusive gossip is the sole responsibility of the people who read it.
I don't really know how you work that out. There is something inherent in us that craves both junk food and junk journalism. Neither thing exists without the supply of it, and both are marketed heavily, increasing that demand.
> Surely it would have been better to make a complete change, and start at a new school.
Do you seriously think that Richard Littlejohn gave one tiny little thought for the potential consequences of him turning a teacher into a subject of speculation, harassment and persecution?
Do you think his "outing" of this person would have no consequences on that person's personal life?
This was not some person who was already a celebrity, that made a living out of courting publicity, and is used to dealing with it.
This is - was - a human being, that RJ chose to set off a tabloid feeding frenzy about.
Stop making excuses for him.
I'm not convinced it's quite as simple as "bad, bad Littlejohn" myself. I have a lot of sympathy with transsexuals and none at all with Littlejohn. But what he *said* in that column wasn't so very OTT.
What he said was this: He said if teachers want to have sex-changes, fine, but to protect their pupils' sensibilities they should be discreet about it and maybe finish one job as male before starting another as female.
I don't agree, but I don't think that's a *ridiculous* viewpoint. I know some transsexuals who go for surgery do choose to make exactly the kind of job-switch at the same time. They do it to protect themselves more than other people, and to make a clean break between life in one gender and life in the other.
I think whether they do this should be up to them, not up to Richard Littlejohn--but like I say, while I don't agree with him, I don't think his column was ridiculously nasty about her. Just mistaken.
So what made the poor lady commit suicide? Assuming she acted on something like a good reason in killing herself--which isn't necessarily true either--I doubt it was Littlejohn's column. It might have been the subsequent doorstepping, but that's another issue.
So I'm not sure I'm quite prepared to get the torches and pitchforks out for the press on this occasion--not at least for what the press have *written*.
Meanwhile, while we speculate and opine on the basis of very little knowledge of this issue, Lucy Meadows' family are grieving on the basis of more knowledge than they ever wanted to have of it.
> I don't really know how you work that out. There is something inherent in us that craves both junk food and junk journalism. Neither thing exists without the supply of it, and both are marketed heavily, increasing that demand.
I'm not sure I agree, we don't crave junk food, we crave food. Companies make junk food, fill it with rubbish that makes us crave more and market it heavily. You can't market gossip in the same way, it's just advertised. If it's a question of responsibility for the effects of gossip then the responsibility lies where it originates, which is with the people that read it. The responsibility for the unhealthy and addictive nature of junk food lies with the producers, not with our inherent need to eat.
The responsibility lies at source, with the creation of demand. With junk food that demand is created by the junk food companies, with gossip that demand is latent in society and serviced by the tabloids.
People buy the paper, if they did not he would not have an audience.
So did they buy the paper because he wrote the article, or did he write the article so they would buy the paper.
Sadly it`s a cruel world and people like to see others misery and downfall.
If you have outrage to spare use it for the thousands around the world who died today for want of clean water, food or a few pence worth of medication, and not someone who could not cope with a few harsh words.
> So did they buy the paper because he wrote the article, or did he write the article so they would buy the paper.
It's probably simpler than that and neither. People buy the paper because it includes the types of article they want to read (like his), he wrote the article because including that kind of article is what will make people continue to buy the paper. I don't think anyone bought the paper because that article was in it and for that reason I don't think anyone thought that that article would sell more papers.
Mind you, Littlejohn's stuff is a good example of why I don't buy newspapers at all any more. Any time I want some tabloid bile I just come on UKC and get it for free.
What vacuous crap.
I loathe it when "think of the starving Africans" is wheeled out in lieu of something relevant to say.
As for "someone who could not cope with a few harsh words" - clearly someone who commits suicide for whatever reason should be sneered at and derided for their weakness, or for 'not suffering as much' as someone else in completely unrelated circumstances. If you lack the most basic ability to empathise that is.
I feel deeply sorry for anyone who ends up depending on you for any form of care. Would you tell your bullied daughter who's raided the bathroom cabinet for every last tablet to think of the starving Africans?
>someone who could not cope with a few harsh words.
There's a vast difference between not coping with a few harsh words, and having the tabloid press turn up on your doorstep and the national press inviting people to send in photographs of you, before and after a sex change...
> What vacuous crap.
> I loathe it when "think of the starving Africans" is wheeled out in lieu of something relevant to say.
> As for "someone who could not cope with a few harsh words" - clearly someone who commits suicide for whatever reason should be sneered at and derided for their weakness, or for 'not suffering as much' as someone else in completely unrelated circumstances. If you lack the most basic ability to empathise that is.
> I feel deeply sorry for anyone who ends up depending on you for any form of care. Would you tell your bullied daughter who's raided the bathroom cabinet for every last tablet to think of the starving Africans?
Fantastic post, I couldn't have said it better myself.
I would also like to add I hope you never ever suffer from mental health issues sjc. They can be totally crippling and with that attitude you would despise yourself more than most people with mental health issues do.
TY, good post.
I haven't been able to read the original article in its entirety.
However, from what I have read, it pretty much tallies with what you have said - misgiuded and insensitive, possibly. Designed to be hurtful and inflamortory as implied by numerous other media sources, probably not.
Further to that, aren't the very people calling for Littlejohns 'blood' using the very same tactics he is accused of?
I'm sure there will be an inquest. Why not wait for the results, before starting the witch hunt?
I'm not as obsessed by Littlejohn as you are, so I really don't care to speculate
Littlejohn didn't "out" him. The school had already informed parents and governors about the male teacher who would be returning as a woman. Some parents had expressed discomfort at the idea.
This was a person who had a sex change, and decided to go back to school as a woman. Do you really believe that no one would have noticed?
In fact, no. Littlejohn wrote an article about this man's decision, and expressed an opinion. One which some of the parents at the school agree with. He is not responsible for the action of other papers.
I'll do as I damn well please, it's a free country and we are here to exchange views. I have not made excuses for Littlejohn.
Untwist your knickers eh?
Out of interest, how many people have read the original article?
I've tried, but the page quickly changes to a "Address not known".
If anyone has a link to the article that doesn't crash, it would be much appreciated.
Anyone who hasn't read the original article, isn't really in a position to comment either way. Don't think anyone can argue with that.
Also, could people on this thread please respect the dead woman's gender identity and say "she" rather than "he" please?
Not sure if it's my browser (IE9), but it displays the page for a second or so and then goes into a "Address not valid" page.
I've Print Screened what I can and from what I can tell, the article is pretty neutral i.e. Littlejohn himself isn't being particularly critical of Lucy, but is more focused on the effects on her pupils. Whether that is right or not in reality on a psychological level (have any studies actually been done on this?) doesn't really matter, as a Journalist he is quite at liberty to raise that point.
The essential thing, is the response from the other media i.e. the ones that actually invaded her private life through hounding her personally or by getting information/photo's from whomever was willing to do so.
It starts; "Look, it can’t be much fun being a woman trapped in a man’s body. Believe me ladies there are times when it’s not a bundle of laughs being a man trapped in a man’s body. So I have every sympathy for the 400 or so people a year who opt for “gender reassignment surgery” to end their misery. I have no problems with sex-change operations being carried out on the NHS, provided it is necessary and not a lifestyle choice. Transsexuals pay taxes too.
Dominion also ignores the fact that The Mail had published an article on this event before Littlejohn's own article.
It's a sad state of affairs, at any rate. I feel for her, it must have been a horrible position to be in. And her friends and family, and the kids, who I'm sure will miss somebody who seems to have been a respected teacher.
It seems reasonable, generally sympathetic and, on the whole, well balanced.
There's a couple of digs at how the school handled it but the general tone seemed sympathetic to the teacher I thought.
Or is that just me?
> It seems reasonable, generally sympathetic and, on the whole, well balanced.
> There's a couple of digs at how the school handled it but the general tone seemed sympathetic to the teacher I thought.
> Or is that just me?
I also read it a few days ago, I came to a different conclusion. Reasonable, sympathetic and balanced have no place in my description.
Its a horrific horrible article.. which clearly played a role.. of course there were other issues, the teacher obviously went through a lot.
The mail is horrible though. When joey Barton said football needs a gay role model.. the mail did an article saying for him to come out.. basically trying to ridicule him for being gay, probing for a reaction.. it was an horrically homophobic article yet as it was against Barton it was OK.. just a horrible organisation.
'And, let’s face it, with that new accent, he’s probably halfway there.'
says it all about how horrid the paper and its journalists are..
Must be your browser because the article linked to worked for me.
You need to reset your browser's spiteful and hateful content filters
> Its a horrific horrible article.. which clearly played a role.. of course there were other issues, the teacher obviously went through a lot.
It is indeed a horrible article. There's something I find deeply disturbing about the premise behind this and many other instances of thinly veiled prejudice: that children are somehow damaged if they encounter someone who is not 'normal'. What is this damage? How does it affect them? Can it be reversed? It's something that I just don't understand (actually I do: it's entirely made up and is purely a smokescreen for fear or hatred of the minority in question).
It seems reasonable, generally sympathetic and, on the whole, well balanced.
There's a couple of digs at how the school handled it but the general tone seemed sympathetic to the teacher I thought.
Upon finally reading it (had to play around with my browser settings), I tend to agree with that. Maybe slightly sensationalist, but all journalists are guilty of that and I don't believe Littlejohn deserves to be hounded for it. He certainly doesn't say anything hurtful about Lucy Meadows or is in any way critical of her decision, which is what some people seem to be suggesting and for which he should be sacked and/or burnt at the stake.
It would have been very niave of the school and Lucy Meadows not to expect any media attention and maybe they should have made better plans to avoid that. I'm very surprised that they didn't have a longer period between the transition and perhaps a change of school. In the long term, maybe people in a similar position could have a term of leave similar to maternity leave?
It's also very niave of them to expect no reaction from parents, who rightly or wrongly, will err on the side of caution when it comes to their children. Out of interest, has anyone got any categorical proof that children can't be affected by such circumstances?
Out of interest has anyone got any categorical proof that children CAN be affected by such circumstances?
In other words - can we make evidenced decisions rather than pass opinion as 'fact' here?
It would be self-evident to state that there are far more 'challenging' situations that a given child could be reasonably expected to be exposed to - why would this situation be more problematic?
Is applying the "think of the children" argument actually to side-step really thinking about the issue in the first place?
You claim naivety on the part of the school and the Lucy herself - but do we actually know what was put in place? Also - consider that, it is perhaps *unreasonable* to expect extensive media attention - there are no legal issues - the school was stated to be supportive of the person's transition and gender re-assignment is not exactly rare - I've known at least 3 in my life - in fact they all worked for one company! You know what, people just handled it...
> It seems reasonable, generally sympathetic and, on the whole, well balanced... Out of interest, has anyone got any categorical proof that children can't be affected by such circumstances?
Don't be ridiculous. What sort of research do you think has been done in this area?
If you think that there is a harmful effect of something, it is incumbent on you to explain what that effect is, how it works, and how it can be avoided. We cannot assume that everything harms our children until proven otherwise for the most obvious reasons.
And if you think that "But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter?" is sympathetic and nice, you've got no understanding of the issue. The article is saying that the existence of a transgendered person is "devastating" to children. That no matter how good a teacher she is, the fact that she used to be a man means that her presence in the school is causing damage to the children. It's a disgusting attitude.
When I read ‘My middle boy thinks that he might wake up with a girl’s brain because he was told that Mr Upton, as he got older, got a girl’s brains.’ I nearly spat my tea out at the sheer idiocy. What, you've got to explain something to your son so he can understand it? Oh the horror!
Why are stupid people so unable to grow up and get to grips with the world they live in? You can't just ignore all the stuff that doesn't fit into your tiny, closed minded, insulated view of how you think the world should be. The illusion will be shattered at some point, so why not get over it now and face up to the reality of how the world is, and while you're at it, explain it to your children. There are all kinds of things out there and some of them are not nice. Violence, hatred, suicide - these things are not nice. Transgendered people are not in this category of bad stuff we need to protect our children from, just like blacks and gays are not either. It's not f^cking difficult if you have a couple of braincells to rub together.
> Isn't that a bit elitist? No one elected the journalists,
True no one 'elected' them but millions, of people make a free choice every day to buy these papers even though there are plenty of others - or none -choose from. Hard as it may be for some to stomache, the tabloids, or 'popular' papers as they used to be called, sell millions every day while the Guardian is dying on its sanctimonious are
I don't have scientific evidence as such, but my 20 years experience suggests that kids have no problem with dealing with all kinds of issues that some adults somehow can't handle. I don't see it causing damage, and its probably better for the kids ("Won't somebody think of the children!!!) to have the same teacher in a different outfit, and a clear explanation, than for the teacher to disappear amongst rumours.
Of course now they are dealing with "people were nasty to my teacher for being true to herself and now she is dead."
>He certainly doesn't say anything hurtful about Lucy Meadows or is in any way critical of her decision
Deliberately using the wrong pronouns is very hurtful.
That is really up to them. If you are saying that someone who is transitioning should be hidden away then that is contributing to the problem of anti trans discrimination. If your job is supporting you then being required to leave it when you are at your most vulnerable will make things worse.
There was some research done by Prof Richard Green decades ago, that said that children with a trans parent did not end up having any abnormal gender or sexuality issues themselves. So I am sure if you can't catch the trans cooties from living in the same household, being in the same classroom should be safe. And teachers change their surnames when they get married! Nobody bans that!
And, while we are thinking of the children, it is not beyond the bounds of possibilities that one of the kids in Lucy's school or a neighbouring school might be trans? That instead of feeling they must live a lie or end up a freak on the TV, they could grow up with a positive role model and aim to become a teacher like Ms Meadows?
It is quite easy to explain to children that some people have a girl's brain in a boy's body, and if that makes them very sad then when they are a grown up they can go to a doctor who will help them change their body to match their brain. Kids of all ages will accept this. Same with the gay stuff. It is actually easier than persuading a little girl I know that she can't marry her baby brother, despite loving him very very much!
> when they are a grown up they can go to a doctor who will help them change their body to match their brain.
As an aside (and I know I'm going to get taken to pieces for this) why is it acceptable for them to change their body to match their brain but unacceptable for the brain to be made to match the body.
I appreciate it's gay not trans but there has been an almighty hoo ha recently concerning some adverts on London busses suggesting something similar
Nothing wrong with those who make and distribute pornography, its only the appetite and addictive tendencies of people who look at it and buy it and create the market for it... ...no.. ..its not that simple.. ..you can't get a kick out of something your not exposed to. The newspapers and journalists have responsibilities to humanity that they far to often neglect, and Littlejohn, Dacre et al should take the wrap for this despicable treatment of an human being.
> As an aside (and I know I'm going to get taken to pieces for this) why is it acceptable for them to change their body to match their brain but unacceptable for the brain to be made to match the body.
Haha. So you know of a procedure to change a person's gender identity do you? In the sci-fi world a person's identity can be changed at will, surgically, or through drugs or therapy, this is an interesting philosophical question.
The issues are completely different, I'd be happy to discuss the whole gay therapy thing, but not here.
I was more interested in peoples perception of what is acceptable.
As you say, an interesting philosophical question.
Well it would be a real conundrum for the individual wouldn't it? If you change your identity, can you still remember what it was like to be the old you? What else can you choose about your new identity? Where does it come from, given that the back-story no longer exists?
As for whether or not it would be acceptable, if you mean, if someone wanted the procedure done should the law allow it?
Have you seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Great movie!
After the furore about the adverts on the buses claiming to "cure" homosexuality, I was wondering whether public perception would be more accepting of someone being "cured" of transexuality rather than having surgery.
As I said above, I expect to get shot down for asking the question but I find it interesting.
The reasons people object to the notion that homosexuality can be "cured" is because it can't - all you can do is f^ck with someone's head, and many people would consider the whole thing to be psychological abuse which the victim is coerced into.
If a similar "cure" for transgendered people was offered, I'm sure it would provoke a very similar reaction for very similar reasons.
I don't really see the point in the whole sci-fi thing, it doesn't relate to anything meaningful.
Slightly related anecdote - a few years after I left the school, a drama teacher at my secondary school transitioned from female to male over a summer holiday, with no reported significant issues from pupils, parents or other staff. Yes, that's a secondary school rather than a primary school, but I can't think of many people with more potential capacity to make a person's life hell than a bunch of teenagers, and yet that didn't happen in that case.
It strikes me that if anything, a situation like that of Lucy Meadows or the teacher in the example above should be able to show children that they can be what they want and that it's okay not to fit into a societal norm.
> As I said above, I expect to get shot down for asking the question but I find it interesting.
Nothing wrong at all with asking the question, provided you assimilate the answer...
...which is (a) no, it can't be cured in any way which isn't tantamount to chemical brainwashing and (b) a lot of transgender people don't actually want gender reassignment; what they want is to explore the space in between the male stereotype and the female stereotype. Like Bowie famously does, or did. I wonder what Richard Littlejohn and his like make of them.
He's too busy posing like this to show how manly he is (definitely NSFW) http://popbitch.com/home/2010/06/24/its-richard-littlejohn/
As for the article, if it did contribute to her death, then yes, Littlejohn should be held to account, even if it is just a mention during any investigation. It's vile, spiteful and completely unhelpful to someone who is obviously going to be in a transitional period that requires support, not picked on & dragged out onto the pages of some rag to be pointed at and treated like some sort of freak show (and I say this as a journo)
However, the question is will he or the Hate Fail actually care? They are providing their bigoted readership with the kind of crap they crave, and whilst that's still profitable, then they'll carry on.
> I think a more relevant figure might be the number of journalists that turned up to doorstop this teacher...
> This is more about how the press create a feeding frenzy, and go at it...
So although we don't currently have a feeding frenzy or a suicide, how do you think it's going so far?
So I have every sympathy for the 400 or so people a year who opt for ‘gender reassignment’ surgery to put themselves out of their misery.
I don’t even have any problem with sex-change operations being carried out on the NHS, provided it’s a genuine medical necessity and not a lifestyle choice. Transsexuals pay taxes, too.
Schoolteacher Nathan Upton, 32, says he always knew he was born into the wrong sex. Yet he married and fathered a child, now aged three. It was only fairly recently that he decided to go public with his inner turmoil.
The first indications came when he began growing his cropped hair and dyeing it purple. He started turning up for class wearing pink nail varnish and sparkly headbands.
His pupils at St Mary Magdalen’s Church of England Primary School in Accrington, Lancs, couldn’t help noticing. A crayon drawing of Mr Upton by a Year 6 pupil on the school’s website shows him with long hair swept back over his shoulders.
One parent said: ‘I saw what I thought was Mr Upton dressed as a woman in town one weekend, but I decided I had imagined it.’
Oh no, you hadn’t.
Confirmation came in the school’s Christmas newsletter. It started innocuously enough, with a series of routine staff announcements. Then in paragraph six, out of the blue, BOOM! Are you sitting comfortably, children?
‘Mr Upton has 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.’
It went on to stress that the school is ‘proud of our commitment to equality and diversity’. Of course they are.
This week, the school’s 169 pupils, aged between seven and 11, were informed class-by-class that from now on, ‘Sir’ would be ‘Miss’. Teachers told them that Mr Upton felt he had been ‘born with a girl’s brain in a boy’s body’ and would henceforth be living as a woman.
Nathan Upton is now in the early stages of gender reassignment treatment. He issued a statement which read: ‘This has been a long and difficult journey for me and it was certainly not an easy decision to make.’
So that’s all right, then. From now on, kiddies, Mr Upton will be known as Miss Lucy Meadows. What are you staring at, Johnny? Move along, nothing to see here. Get on with your spelling test. Today’s word is ‘transitioning’.
Mr Upton/Miss Meadows may well be comfortable with his/her decision to seek a sex-change and return to work as if nothing has happened. The school might be extremely proud of its ‘commitment to equality and diversity’.
But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter? Children as young as seven aren’t 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.
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? Anyway, why not Miss Upton?
Parent Wayne Cowie said the news had left his ten-year-old son worried and confused.
For the past three years he has been taught by Mr Upton, but has now been told that he will be punished if he continues to call ‘Miss Meadows’ ‘Mr Upton’ after the Christmas holidays. ‘My middle boy thinks that he might wake up with a girl’s brain because he was told that Mr Upton, as he got older, got a girl’s brains.’
The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its ‘commitment to diversity and equality’ above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents.
It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.
These are primary school children, for heaven’s sake. Most them still believe in Father Christmas. Let them enjoy their childhood. They will lose their innocence soon enough.
The head teacher denies that pupils will be punished for referring to the teacher as Mr Upton but added ominously that they would be ‘expected to behave properly around her.’ Nathan Upton is entitled to his gender reassignment surgery, but he isn’t entitled to project his personal problems on to impressionable young children.
By insisting on returning to St Mary Magdalen’s, he is putting his own selfish needs ahead of the well-being of the children he has taught for the past few years.
It would have been easy for him to disappear quietly at Christmas, have the operation and then return to work as ‘Miss Meadows’ at another school on the other side of town in September. No-one would have been any the wiser.
But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.
Awful stuff. Gets some week apologies in early.. ..then goes for the jugular with how devastating this will be for the children: evidence please, logic please... ...nah, this is just a selfish bastard imposing his personal decision on innocents... ...and I wonder, how easy would it have been... ...I suppose coming from the world of LJ where the only thing you have to do is spew vitriolic words... ...the word easy doesn't mean much. No I doubt it would have been easy at all. Tw*t.
'Could' be very difficult.... but probably only if their parents shared their own prejudices with them. My daughter has grown up around lots of different 'types' of people and honestly doesn't give too hoots about what lifestyles they lead. Generally the most pressing thing on my sprogs mind is whether Harry Styles is more awesomer than the wee dancing bloke from JLS and what to spend her pocket money on.
I'm sure they'd have questions and that's perfectly ok, but chances are they'll have moved on after about a week and will be back on to the 1D/JLS/Bieber/Wanted question.
I don't see how this case is any different from the "radio hoax nurse" suicide some months back. In that case it did seem to be felt , regardless of any underlying mental issues, the general public should exercise caution when stirring people up. When has Littlejohnever exercised caution?
Kids are resilient little critters, they'd cope with the sun being switched off if you sat them down, and told them it was ok. Which brings us to the problem... Adults. Adults being forced to review their fully formed, often simplistic views on gender and sexuality. It's got nothing to do with the children.
That Littlejohn piece is pure simple bigotry thinly dressed up in superficially reasonable words. It's clearly pitched just about right for the target audience.
When we were kids the guy in the local bike shop was a 6'3" bruiser with blue overalls and grease on his hands.
One day we went in the shop and he had a dress and lipstick on - oh how we laughed!!
Then a few days later when we were bored it never got mentioned again and this guy just became another woman about town who no one ever noticed.
Kids don't give a toss - Littlejohn is a dick sometimes.
I don't think he has a point. One of the friends of my parents I got on best with when I was a kid was a man who spent alot of time with us. He was a nice guy, gay, and I liked him very much. He was a great cook and got me helping out cooking when I was very young indeed. I knew the basic idea of what being gay meant without all the physical sexual overtones which I understood more when I was a teenager, but because my parents treated him as utterly normal (which of course he was and is), I also saw him as utterly normal, which of course he was and is. I cannot for the life of me accept that this should be any different. Children can absorb these things far better than adults with all their engrained prejudices, and indeed, if any tension were to occur with those children, it would have far more to do with those parental prejudices and how those parents deal with the news. LJ's article if bigoted nonsense. Its feigns concern for children while showing none for Miss Meadows, indeed it assumes the opposite: selfish irresponsible behaviour on her part.
What harm will it do them? Why? How? Will they recover? Will this harm be the same for all the children, or just certain ones? Is this harm definitely worse than the benefits of keeping the teacher at the school?
> What harm will it do them? Why? How? Will they recover? Will this harm be the same for all the children, or just certain ones? Is this harm definitely worse than the benefits of keeping the teacher at the school?
I guess not too long ago similar attitudes would have been expressed about a teacher that was gay and maybe a generation before that a divorced woman. I suspect it would do the children no harm at all, I suspect that if it is just left to the kids, it wouldn't even be an issue after a week.
Interesting bit of victim-blaming there.
Did the use of 'Legos' rub anyone else the wrong way, seemed like an obvious americanism and whois said they were reg in california but perhaps there's more to this than meets the eye:
(hat tip: jackofkent)
> Interesting bit of victim-blaming there.
What did I blame anyone of?
As evidenced by the witch against Littlejohn here, on little or no evidence, a left-wing torches and pitchfork mob is just as unthinking and easily roused as the "Laura Norder" brigade..
Watch out though winhill, they'll be calling you a racist next, for daring to speak out against their orthodoxy.
> (hat tip: jackofkent)
Thankyou winhill for the only really interesting thing on this thread; "clicktivism" is a way of compiling email lists for marketing and this is a US company expanding into the UK. I think some of us will know next time. But what does "hat tip:jackofkent" mean? Does it mean you are tipping your hat to someone called jack of kent?
I assume it is a reference to the legal blogger, David Allen Green.
> True no one 'elected' them but millions, of people make a free choice every day to buy these papers even though there are plenty of others - or none -choose from. Hard as it may be for some to stomache, the tabloids, or 'popular' papers as they used to be called, sell millions every day while the Guardian is dying on its sanctimonious are
My problem with the tabloids is their narrow political agenda, which has become more polarised over the last few decades. I agree that there is a place for tabloids as they are popular but it's a bit dangerous when they are all owned by very few people all with similar political agendas.
Inquest adjourned til 28th May for more reports.
Cryptic stuff from the coroner:
Coroner Michael Singleton told the short hearing: “I understand there have been previous attempts to commit suicide. I don’t know if they are relevant or not.”
It's Lancs Telegraph, stupid long sentence rule again.
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