Her name was not #RIPLucyMeadows

Maybe you read the article Her Name Was Lucy Meadows.

Maybe you are one of the hundreds of thousands who have been signing petitions and tweeting about the cruel “monstering” of Lucy by Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail.

Maybe you were one of the hundreds who protested outside the Daily Mail offices in posh but freezing Kensington.

Maybe you believe Jane Fae when she tells you that media moguls are quaking in their boots and you are about to steel the nerve of Parliament to challenge a complicit government to legislate against the press.

Maybe you still have the placard helpfully provided by Josephine Shaw on Trans Media Watch’s Facebook Group.  You know the one you printed out with “I Am Not Afraid” in big letters, the Daily Mail logo as a title in font half that size, and then at the bottom in letters so small that you cannot make them out in the press photographs, the footnote “#RIPLucyMeadows.”

Maybe you even believe that you were at a vigil for Lucy, rather than a protest against The Daily Mail, despite the fact that her name does not appear on the poster, instead it is the Twitter hashtag that helped to promote the protest that was not a vigil.

Maybe it is dawning on you that you once clicked on a article called Her Name Was Lucy Meadows.

Maybe you wrongly believe that we know that she chose to take her own life.

Maybe you are ignoring the fact that the coroner Michael Singleton has dampened expectation that he will definitely rule for death by her own hand.

Maybe it is time to stop campaigning in her name.

Maybe it is time to stop and remember Lucy.

© Mercia McMahon 2013

5 thoughts on “Her name was not #RIPLucyMeadows

  1. You seem to have singled me out in this piece, and I take deep exception to the insinuations that you make. You infer, not for the first time, that my role, and that of some others, was/is simply exploitative.

    I was greatly upset by the news of Lucy Meadow’s death. Not because I knew her personally, but because I knew she had been pursued by the media and that her life had been made very unpleasant in an all too familiar way by the media – both in their pursuit of her and in trying to deny her the right to her own identity. And on a human level, I too have transitioned, and hearing of someone who didn’t makes me feel huge sadness. It is above all else a human tragedy, made the more sad because she was a teacher and wanted to help change attitudes amongst children.

    But here are a few things you should understand, just so you are clear:

    1. At no point have I ever said that she killed herself. It seems likely but it remains to be seen. I have been at pains to point this out to others – we await the Inquest.
    2. At no point have I suggested that the media drove her to her death. I have stuck to the facts as we know them – that she was monstered by the media, and that later she died. I was there outside the offices of the Daily Mail because she had, like so many many others been treated completely unacceptably by a tabloid newspaper, and that having passed away she now had no voice any more.
    3. At the vigil, I addressed the attendees and specifically asked them to remember Lucy, to send our love to her family and to her friends and pupils. It was very important to me that I did this.
    4. The vigil was a vigil not a protest. There was no chanting, and was conducted quietly and respectfully, with candles. I did not think of it, arrange it, and in fact got there late when it was already underway.
    5. I personally discouraged people from turning the event into an attempt to ‘get Richard Littlejohn sacked’ (though the SWP turned up with some banners, they were uninvited). This would have been exploitative.
    6. The ‘I am not afraid’ poster was produced in the hope that it could serve as something that would draw people away from disrespectful, or exploitative language. Had people used language which made points about Lucy herself it might have suggested an attempt to ‘blame’ the Daily Mail directly for her death – something that would have been completely inappropriate. Its sentiment was founded on a knowledge that The Daily Mail did however cause Lucy significant and unwarranted distress – fact – as it has caused distress to many trans people historically.
    7. Lucy Meadows was not #RIPLucyMeadows but the existence of a twitter hashtag under which individuals could express their sadness does not mean somehow this has been forgotten. There were many many expressions of genuine sadness and condolence made through that means.
    8. As it happens I see no evidence of the coroner ‘dampening speculation’ about the cause of her death. The statement he made relating to potential previous suicide attempts to me suggests that he simply making clear that these may or may not be relevant.

    Your inferences here have upset and angered me greatly. You clearly do not know me at all. As you put it, I have spend a great deal of time ‘remembering Lucy’ in the last week.

  2. Josephine, it is less than 12 hours since you told your MP that Lucy killed herself. I’ve just re-tweeted your message to him. I was very careful in what I said about the coroner, namely that he dampened expectation that he would definitely conclude death by her own hand. You on the other hand have already decided that she did choose to take her own life, although what you say appears to depend on the audience that you are addressing.

  3. Yes, I accept that this one tweet, made hastily yesterday, when I saw him online, says ‘she killed herself’. This was a mistake, thank you for pointing it out to me, and I have retweeted him to say that so. We await the coroner’s verdict. I do not believe that I have made this mistake any where else, though I have expressed my beliefs about what happened. I have sought to point out that as yet we do not know the full story – particularly on the FB page that was created (not by me) around the vigil. The fact remains that Lucy was monstered, treated appallingly, like many are, and she tragically later died.

    I continue to totally reject your insinuations about my motives in this case.

    Whether this was suicide for me also misses some of the point. The fact is that Lucy was treated by the press as so many are – highly intrusive, inaccurate, hurtful, demeaning and damaging. This is what I want to stop. Lucy’s story ended in tragedy for her. But it is not necessary for it to end this way for me to want this. I have been involved in supporting people against an intrusive press for a number of years – people who are still alive, but who in some cases had their lives ruined.

    If you continue this position of seeking to make the focus of this debate the motives of those involved in trying to help others and seek change (I can speak only for myself – and in my case you are wrong), and if you attempt to make it all about whether Lucy did or did not kill herself and people’s views on that, then you create demoralisation and give comfort to the obfuscating tabloid press who have attempted to make it ONLY about the lack of a ‘proven link’ between Lucy’s death and their actions. Should it emerge that she died of natural causes, they are set to try and walk away, washing their hands of it all. Such a link is ultimately, to me, not the essential point. It is the predatory motives of the tabloid press, whatever the extent to which the victim is able to withstand them, that are the issue here. It is not necessary for someone to be driven to their death (whether or not Lucy was) for the tabloid’s behaviour to be completely unacceptable.

    (You should know that I do not speak for TMW. I am not involved in the running of TMW. I act privately).

  4. That is quite stunning logical acrobatics, Josephine, that whether Lucy died of natural causes or not is immaterial and getting the tabloids is all that matters. It simply proves my point since I entered this debate through No Respect in Death that Lucy is simply a vehicle to get the Daily Mail and keep TMW prominent. I am here for Lucy, I am still waiting to find out who you are here for.

    Yes I know the TMW modus operandi, for its activists to say I am not a member, while being up to their necks in involvement, for example, you are writing briefing papers for MPs for a debate that may never happen. Remember that open Facebook groups are not only open forums, but viewable by anyone on Facebook. Like Jane “I am not part of TMW” Fae, while turning up incognito to Lucy’s funeral to represent TMW without admitting that she is the reporter who published extracts of Lucy’s copyrighted private emails and then boasting about her cunning subterfuge on the TMW Facebook group.

  5. For sake of completeness I should point out that Josephine Shaw and I were both at the Kaleidoscope Lecture given by the transsexual Polish MP Anna Grodskha to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Josephine stood to ask a question and did as requested and stated if she was representing an organisation. She stated that she was a founder member of Trans Media Watch (as was I in the days when it was just a Facebook group). This does not square with her claim above “(You should know that I do not speak for TMW. I am not involved in the running of TMW. I act privately).” She certainly did speak for TMW when she gave a presentation for them at the Salzburg Global Seminar this June http://www.salzburgglobal.org/current/sessions-b.cfm?IDSpecial_Event=3897
    Mercia McMahon (same person as Mercia Josephine above, but now I reserve that latter name for my fictional works)

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