As it happened though; Nathan Upton wasn’t quite like other teachers, but he was like many other men world over who find themselves trapped in the wrong body. Nathan believed that he should have been born a woman, and that he was in fact living in the wrong body. Last year (2012), just before Christmas, pupils at St Mary Magdalen’s School were told that Mr Evens would be returning after the Christmas holidays as Miss Meadows. Not being a huge fan of any type of religious institution, I have to applaud St Mary Magdalen’s School and their excellent attitude to what must have been a difficult situation. The school released the following statement in their Christmas Newsletter under a section called staff changes:”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.
The newsletter then added that it was “proud of our commitment to equality and diversity among our staff and children.”
What was obviously a slightly awkward situation was being dealt with by Nathan, staff and pupils at the school admirably. There was a little dissent amongst some parents (rumours abound now, say that money passed hands from press to parents), but I suppose you have to expect that some folk may find it hard to adjust to the teacher of their child changing sex. One can assume at this stage though, that everyone was trying to continue as normal and that eventually people would forget about Nathan, and only ever consider what a good teacher Lucy is.
Unfortunately this is where awful newspaper, The Daily Mail, and so called columnist and journalist Richard Littlejohn enter the story. The Daily Mail decided to get on its high horse after being contacted by an unknown parent (another Mail reader?) regarding the male teacher of primary school, becoming a female. The Mail published a nasty article by Littlejohn criticising Nathan Upton. The article stated such things as: “He’s not only in the wrong body...he’s in the wrong job,” and “Nathan Upton is entitled to his gender reassignment surgery but he isn't entitled to project his personal problems on to impressionable young children.”
Now I’ve done a fair bit of research on Nathan Upton today, and can’t, in the thousands of online column inches about him, find any mention of him pushing his beliefs onto other people. Unlike the Daily Mail and Richard Littlejohn, who both regularly try to whip the public up into a storm over whatever the current fashionable hate figure is. The Littlejohn article could easily have been attacking gays, Muslims, single mums or the lazy unemployed, but this time it was a vicious verbal assault on a woman trapped in a man’s body.
Think about that for a moment. You are born a man, or maybe a woman. All through your life you have had the nagging doubt in your mind that you are the opposite sex to the body that nature has assigned you. Nature has cruelly given you a body that doesn’t reflect how you feel inside. The ultimate decision to have life changing gender reassignment surgery is huge, and one that nobody would take lightly. Imagine the day that you walk out of the door dressed as a woman or man for the first time. Nathan must have been so scared.
So Christmas 2012 came and went, and when the Spring term at St Mary Magdalen’s School started, they had a new member of staff.
Lucy Meadows avoided the waiting press at her house in the mornings by sneaking out the back door. She would then stay late into the evenings, so that she could leave without a fuss once the photographers and journalists had finished their siege of the school for the day. She mentioned in a email to a friend that “the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me," just before she contacted the Press Complaints Commission to ask that journalists and photographers to stop hanging around outside her school and home in Accrington, Lancashire.
Then the sad news broke that Lucy Meadows had been found dead - believed to have taken her own life.
At the moment, the web is full of accusations towards the vile Richard Littlejohn and the Daily Mail. Suggestions are; that they are both responsible for the start of the “hounding to the death” of Miss Meadows. Some also allege that other reporters from local newspapers were offering parents at the school cash in exchange for their fictional stories of outrage and revulsion.
As of today, we don’t know for sure why Lucy – after everything she had been through – took her own life. She may have had mental health issues that we don’t know about; that are none of our business. We don’t know if the stress of the situation just became too much, too overbearing. We may never know for sure, and that’s one of the tragic things about this story: we are left knowing very little about Lucy Meadows. What we do know is that yet again, someone may have felt that they couldn't cope with their life any more. That the only way out was suicide.
RIP Lucy Meadows.