Award-winner Paris gets back to business

Paris Lees
Paris Lees

IT’S BACK to business for Paris Lees (pictured), the Hucknall woman who recently landed a prestigious National Diversity Award.

Paris (25) has returned to London to edit her magazine after taking home the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) at the National Diversity Awards.

Earlier this year, Paris launched ‘META’ magazine with the publishers of GT (Gay Times) and DIVA. ‘META’ is available online and features news, features and entertainment from a feminist and transgender perspective.

She is branching out into presenting too and is working on a documentary about prejudice for BBC Radio 1. She is also due to host local radio in Glasgow next week and has presenting work in the pipeline with Channel 4.

Paris told the Dispatch: “Most people get their information about transgender people from the media. Traditionally, though, there haven’t been that many trans people making television or writing for the mainstream press.

“That would be like the Dispatch being written by people in Devon!

“As a journalist, you really need to know what you are talking about. Every day there are articles about trans people in the national papers and I thought it was about time we started telling our own stories”.

Over the past two years, Paris has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness about transgender people, appearing everywhere from BBC Breakfast to primetime Channel 4.

She says her message is simple:

“I just want people to stop bullying people like me. I understand that difference can seem strange, but really we’re just people and should be judged on our actions — not what was between our legs when we were born. After all, who gets a choice in that?”

She adds: “I used to feel ashamed of who I was, but then I realised I had nothing to apologise for. Despite the discrimination we face, trans people help run councils and manage the NHS – the prime minister even takes advice from people who are transgender.”

Paris is currently busy preparing for this year’s Pink List, a compilation of the most influential LGBT people in Britain, published by the ‘Independent on Sunday’. She joined the list’s judging panel last year – making her the first and so-far only transgender judge.

She said: “I can’t wait to join the judging panel again. I’m already researching all the great people in Britain who are doing wonderful things with their lives and who also happen to be gay, bisexual or transgender. We’re in the mix now – and there’s no turning back!”

n LAST WEEK the Dispatch reported on Paris’s award win. On our front page we referred to her as ‘Hucknall’s Paris Lees, who was born a man but who now lives as a woman’. Paris contacted us to point out she is not ‘living as’ a woman — she is a woman now. We apologise for any unintentional offence that may have been caused.