…tran sisters and brothers and sibs and friends and allies, too. Look at what you’ve done and be proud: be incredibly proud that the grief and the anger and all the other emotions you felt just three short days ago have, this time, not been wasted.
That, incredibly, in one weekend, you have stirred the politics of this country and while there’s some way still to go, you may have done as much – more, even – in that time to shake the complacency of the press barons than Lord Leveson over months of dry inquiry and evidence-taking.
You don’t believe it? Because, of course, with a few honourable exceptions such as the Guardian and politics.co.uk, it hasn’t been reported in the press? Well, today i am planning to write just the two posts (unless something else happens!). The first – this one – is here to remind you what you have achieved.
The second will focus rather more darkly on what the press have – or rather, haven’t reported on since Friday.
So let’s begin with last night. Over 250 individuals, trans and not, turned up in the freezing cold to stand, as mark of respect to Lucy Meadows, in the freezing cold outside the Daily Mail Head Office. True: we were nearly wiped out at one point by a large and intransigent M&S delivery lorry. But we were there.
As were two members of the Labour front benches, Kerry McCarthy MP and Graham Jones, MP. The latter is also Member for Lucy’s parliamentary constituence – Hyndburn.
Earlier in the day, Mr Jones had raised Lucy’s death on the floor of the house of Commons as point of order (at 4.08pm). The speaker, John Bercow, wasn’t convinced it was a proper point of order. But still, he was sympathetic and, according to Graham Jones last night, there is to be a full debate on the issues arising from this case after the House returns from its recess.
That is utterly amazing – though not surprising, given that some very senior Members on both sides of the House (including front benchers) have also expressed their disquiet.
Mass public engagement
But then, with two public petitions on the topic still growing hourly – and between them a tally now in the region of 200,000 signatures, the enormous public impact of this issue may also, finally, be beginning to hit home.
Then, too, there’s the nascent campaign asking people to boycott major Daily Mail advertisers. That one may be a bit too big to swallow: but its an interesting and important shot across the bows.
Finally, there is a spirit of unity, of cohesion within the trans community today that i have rarely seen.
Even though this is NOT just about t’tranz. Far from it.
The monstering of Lucy Meadows was of a sort trans folk are used to. But in reality, the press focus is on anyone who doesn’t fit a very narrow definition of normal.
The change still to come
Which is why this campaign now is so important: because it is bringing right back into the spotlight a raft of issues that Leveson has only touched upon. Respect. Decency.
And whisper it low: regulation. Because what Lucy’s case demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt is that, scared though they might have been by Leveson, the press have not learned anything, not cleaned up their act in the slightest.
If anything, they are now embarked on a sort of petty vindictive revenge against the trans community for the slight they feel already inflicted.
And in the long run, this may be their undoing. For if the anger of the last few days has highlighted just how little trust the country has, as a whole, in our press, the disgust is giving way to something else: a sense that the press WERE given a last chance, last week.
They were offered regulation lite – a small price to pay, one might think – for the egregious bad conduct they have engaged in over the past few years. But, nah! Like the spoilt child they always were, that is not, will never be good enough for them.
They threw their toys out of the pram, mercilessly traduced in death an innocent victim of their earlier bad behaviour – and now, it seems likely, they will pay the price. Not under this government, no.
But the case for much harder, stronger statutory regulation has been made these last few days. Not by lawyers or politicians, but by the press themselves.
This story still has some way to run. And when it finally issues forth in some real law, law with teeth – Lucy’s Law? – it will be time for you all to pat yourselves gently on the back and say, in utter amazement: look what we did!