Paris Lees has had a busy year. With numerous TV appearances, newspaper columns, partying, and a potential book deal in the offing, the past 12 months have been filled.
And it’s because of this that Paris is not too upset at losing her crown at the top of the Rainbow List.
She took top spot last year in the list, which is the Independent newspaper’s ‘annual celebration of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender people who make a real difference’. In pole position this year is Michael Cashman, the Labour Party special envoy on LGBT issues worldwide who was once Colin in EastEnders.
Paris is at number two, and the citation reads: “Journalist & campaigner Lees has written that “Being No 1 on the Pink List transformed my life .... It was an honour, and I’ve really tried to live up to the trust the judges invested in me”. She certainly has, with appearances on Question Time, Newsnight, Radio 1 and at the Oxford Union, and a new book deal. Our heroine.”
“They always go for someone new,” says Paris. “I can’t complain really, being at number two.
“Michael Cashman has done so much and he deserves the recognition.
“Being top completely changed my life. I was doing what I was doing and I was
doing all right.
“The number one spot brought me to mainstream attention and I have been writing and talking about a range of different issues since. It was a brilliant boost to my profile.”
Paris says that she has been presented with a book deal, with a ‘good publisher’.
She says that over the past couple of years, there has been a real change in how transgender people are viewed.
“People like me have stopped apologising for who they are,” she said.
“I don’t apologise for who I am. I’m having fun, drinking, flirting, making friends – just like anyone in their 20s. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. I’m grateful to The Independent for recognising the hard work of a lot of people and for giving me the opportunity to meet so many great people.”
Paris will be appearing in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks – playing herself – and has been advising the programme’s makers on its transgender storyline.
She had to travel up to Blackpool at a moment’s notice (with just enough time for hair and nail appointments) to film the cameo appearance, which will be screened on Tuesday evening. She will also be on ITV’s Lorraine programme. Paris says that
appearing on TV and talking about a number of issues and her business and journalism roles, have made her feeling far more fulfilled than ever
before. She is financially
stable, mentally and financially more secure.
She added: “I’m part of something bigger than me. And that, on a very deep level, is fulfilling. I’m not boasting; it’s a message that says no matter where you are and where you are from, you