He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job
Look, it can’t be much fun being a woman trapped in a man’s body. Believe me, ladies, there are times when it’s not exactly a bundle of laughs being a man trapped inside a man’s body.
So I have every sympathy for the 400 or so people a year who opt for ‘gender reassignment’ surgery to put themselves out of their misery.
I don’t even have any problem with sex-change operations being carried out on the NHS, provided it’s a genuine medical necessity and not a lifestyle choice. Transsexuals pay taxes, too.
Nathan Upton, pictured at his 2009 wedding to wife Ruth, says the decision had not been easy
Schoolteacher Nathan Upton, 32, says he always knew he was born into the wrong sex. Yet he married and fathered a child, now aged three. It was only fairly recently that he decided to go public with his inner turmoil.
The first indications came when he began growing his cropped hair and dyeing it purple. He started turning up for class wearing pink nail varnish and sparkly headbands.
His pupils at St Mary Magdalen’s Church of England Primary School in Accrington, Lancs, couldn’t help noticing. A crayon drawing of Mr Upton by a Year 6 pupil on the school’s website shows him with long hair swept back over his shoulders.
St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington have asked pupils to address teacher Nathan Upton as Miss Meadows from the start of the Spring term
One parent said: ‘I saw what I thought was Mr Upton dressed as a woman in town one weekend, but I decided I had imagined it.’
Oh no, you hadn’t.
Confirmation came in the school’s Christmas newsletter. It started innocuously enough, with a series of routine staff announcements. Then in paragraph six, out of the blue, BOOM! Are you sitting comfortably, children?
‘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.’
Mr Nathan Upton has announced he will be returning to the school after Christmas as Miss Lucy Meadows
It went on to stress that the school is ‘proud of our commitment to equality and diversity’. Of course they are.
This week, the school’s 169 pupils, aged between seven and 11, were informed class-by-class that from now on, ‘Sir’ would be ‘Miss’.
Teachers told them that Mr Upton felt he had been ‘born with a girl’s brain in a boy’s body’ and would henceforth be living as a woman.
Nathan Upton is now in the early stages of gender reassignment treatment. He issued a statement which read: ‘This has been a long and difficult journey for me and it was certainly not an easy decision to make.’
So that’s all right, then. From now on, kiddies, Mr Upton will be known as Miss Lucy Meadows.
What are you staring at, Johnny? Move along, nothing to see here. Get on with your spelling test. Today’s word is ‘transitioning’.
Mr Upton/Miss Meadows may well be comfortable with his/her decision to seek a sex-change and return to work as if nothing has happened. The school might be extremely proud of its ‘commitment to equality and diversity’.
But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter? Children as young as seven aren’t equipped to compute this kind of information.
Pre-pubescent boys and girls haven’t even had the chance to come to terms with the changes in their own bodies.
The message was buried at the bottom of a section of 'staff changes'
Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows? Anyway, why not Miss Upton?
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Parent Wayne Cowie said the news had left his ten-year-old son worried and confused.
For the past three years he has been taught by Mr Upton, but has now been told that he will be punished if he continues to call ‘Miss Meadows’ ‘Mr Upton’ after the Christmas holidays. ‘My middle boy thinks that he might wake up with a girl’s brain because he was told that Mr Upton, as he got older, got a girl’s brains.’
The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its ‘commitment to diversity and equality’ above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents.
It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.
These are primary school children, for heaven’s sake. Most them still believe in Father Christmas. Let them enjoy their childhood. They will lose their innocence soon enough.
The head teacher denies that pupils will be punished for referring to the teacher as Mr Upton but added ominously that they would be ‘expected to behave properly around her.’ Nathan Upton is entitled to his gender reassignment surgery, but he isn’t entitled to project his personal problems on to impressionable young children.
By insisting on returning to St Mary Magdalen’s, he is putting his own selfish needs ahead of the well-being of the children he has taught for the past few years.
It would have been easy for him to disappear quietly at Christmas, have the operation and then return to work as ‘Miss Meadows’ at another school on the other side of town in September. No-one would have been any the wiser.
But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.
Cartoon by Gary for the Daily Mail: Grandmother Barbara Francis, 69, was deemed a potential robber by Tesco security guards and ordered to remove her hood
A 69-year-old great-grandmother was ordered to remove her hood in a Tesco Express because staff thought she might be an armed robber.
Barbara Francis, of Ashton, Lancs, was wearing a yellow parka with a fur trim. She’d only gone in to buy a packet of porridge.
When she was approached by a member of staff, she thought he was kidding. But no, it’s company policy and rules is rules. Hats and hoodies off!
Let’s hope they don’t get a visit from Santa this Christmas. They might think he’s a shoplifter and call the cops.
‘Put the sack down, sir, slowly remove your hood and step away from the reindeer . . .’
So who did let Savile loose in the wards?
Forgive me if I stifle a yawn at the blanket coverage of the BBC’s local difficulty over Jimmy Savile.
To be honest, I couldn’t care less what the acting assistant head of Current Affairs said to the assistant acting head of News. Or whether the deputy acting director of Vision bothered reading an email from the acting deputy director of Platforms.
Trust the modern BBC to reduce this scandal to an arcane argument about management procedures.
Jimmy Saville was allowed to abuse vulnerable children on an industrial scale in state-run institutions which had a statutory duty of care towards them
Here’s the story. For decades the BBC harboured a weapons-grade nonce. Plenty of people knew what he was up to, but they did nothing about it.
Few, if any, of those responsible are still there, or even alive. So inquiries concentrate on the secondary issues of an aborted Newsnight investigation and a seriously ill-advised broadcast tribute to Savile.
No one is sacked and even those who resign leave with Trebles All Round, in true BBC style.
For the record, I feel slightly sorry for designated scapegoat Steve Mitchell, who seems to be the only one leaving without a parachute bag full of used notes. When I worked at the BBC, he was one of the good guys.
Meanwhile, the real scandal goes under-reported. Never mind Top Of The Pops, for years Savile was given the run of supposedly secure care homes and special schools, as well as Broadmoor and Stoke Mandeville hospitals.
Jimmy Savile was given the run of supposedly secure care homes and special schools, as well as Broadmoor and Stoke Mandeville hospitals
He was allowed to abuse vulnerable children on an industrial scale in state-run institutions which had a statutory duty of care towards them.
Who handed him an ‘access all areas’ pass to everywhere from the paediatric wards to the morgue?
The Old Bill is busily rounding up former Radio 1 DJs and producers, but why hasn’t any hospital manager, social worker or special school headmaster had their collar felt yet?
No doubt dragging ancient celebrities from their beds at the crack of dawn over unsubstantiated 40-year-old allegations is so much more fun. But where’s the wide-ranging inquiry into Savile’s travels through the NHS?
Where’s the investigation into Savile’s close relations with certain senior police officers, which may have been a factor in his avoiding prosecution?
Will any copper, civil servant, NHS bigwig or special needs administrator ever be brought to book? Don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Savile remains dead.
I’ll be back on Boxing Day with a bumper Makes You Proud To Be British Quiz. Until then, have a fabulous Christmas and thanks again for all your emails, letters and contributions. The column really wouldn’t be the same without you.
Sorry, offisher, I’m tweeted as a newt
Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions has said many can avoid prosecution for abusive tweets if they can prove they were drunk at the time
Since when has being drunk as a skunk been any defence? Sorry, offisher, I know I was doing 90mph going the wrong way round the M25, but I’m completely pished.
Fair enough, sir. Mind how you go.
So why has the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer announced that people who post threats on Twitter will be able to avoid criminal charges if they can prove they were under the influence at the time?
If they were making drunken death threats in the street, or over the phone, they’d be nicked. Why should the internet be any different? I agree that people shouldn’t be taken to court for so-called ‘abusive’ messages posted in jest, just because someone takes offence.
But Twitter is a playground for vicious trolls and cowardly cyber-bullies who can ruin people’s lives with the most vile threats and smears.
Thanks to the internet, the old adage that a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on is now a reality.
Being drunk shouldn’t be a Get Out Of Jail card.