Toronto Diary
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Coroner criticizes Daily Mail writer over death of transgender teacher

Back in March, Lucy Meadows, an English primary school teacher and trans woman, killed herself over transphobic bullying. Even though Meadows was reportedly well-liked by her students and by other members of the faculty, Daily Mail writer Richard Littlejohn wrote an article questioning whether she should be teaching since she was openly trans.

Recently, the coroner in the case, Michael Singleton, decided to address the issue of Littlejohn’s article head-on. According to the BBC, Singleton called out Littlejohn and the Daily Mail for sensationalizing Meadows’s position as a teacher and demonized her for being a transgender woman.

He said: “She had done nothing wrong. Her only crime was to be different – not by her own choice but by some trick of nature."

[…] Mr Singleton said he planned to write to MP Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to warn that “unless action is taken it could leave to further fatality".

He said: “I will be writing to the government to consider now implementing in full the recommendations of the Leveson Report in order to seek to ensure that other people in the same position as Lucy Meadows are not faced with the same ill-informed bigotry as seems to be displayed in the case of Lucy."

Addressing the media at the conclusion of the inquest he said: “And to you, the press, I say shame – shame on all of you.”

In his book It’s Not News, It’s Fark, Drew Curtis examines the media trend known as “equal time for nutjobs,” which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically the media’s way of seeming fair by letting people give opinions that are patently false in order to balance the whole right-versus-left thing. The problem with this, if you couldn’t tell, is that this invariably empowers unfounded or disproven beliefs.

Was there any real reason why anyone would write an article about whether a transgender woman could be a teacher? Of course not. If someone was a bad teacher, I can see why that question would need to be asked, but by all accounts Meadows was an excellent teacher. The only reason the article was written was to purport the idea that trans people can’t be around kids, which is . . . Well, it’s what happens when you give equal time to nutjobs.

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