Graham Jones, Labour MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn, has posted a blog article about his raising in Parliament the press treatment of his constituent Lucy Meadows. In the article he notes that he expects there to be a three hour backbench debate on press mistreatment of trans people on the basis of an online petition against Daily Mail comment writer Richard Littlejohn. I originally titled this piece without the maybe, and was due to praise Parliament for doing what so many in the trans activist community have not done, namely wait for the coroner’s report before drawing conclusions about the tragically early death of Lucy Meadows.
Then I thought that I should pay more attention to the very long thread advertising this debate on the Facebook Group of Trans Media Watch. This is particularly because when reading the MP’s article I was thinking that he might have been misinformed and thought that this was a government-based petition that would usually trigger such a debate. Graham got in touch with Trans Media Watch’s Helen Belcher and pointed out that no such debate has been agreed to. Nonetheless, Helen encouraged members of the group to continue writing to their MPs even though the debate might not happen, and to post details on the thread. This they did and some posters put up letters that they had already sent to their MPs, including two that asserted that Lucy had taken her own life. The Chair of Trans Media Watch, Jennie Kermode, noted that one of these was “a good letter.”
Parliament maybe has got it right as they would wait for the coroner’s report, but the Chair of Trans Media Watch has got it very wrong, as she thinks that it is unquestioned that Lucy chose to end her life. Just for the record, the coroner opened and closed the inquest today and the case will not be re-opened until 28th May. He was also careful to note that while there were reports of previous suicide attempts that may not be relevant to the inquest. Therefore the earliest that Parliament could have a debate would be June and by then it may have been concluded that Lucy did not choose to take her own life. Unless Trans Media Watch changes its stance, MPs are going to be flooded with letters assuming that they know what the coroner will conclude. It is time for Trans Media Watch and the wider online trans activist community to step back and stop bringing Lucy’s death into their campaigning until the coroner determines how she died.
© Mercia McMahon 2013