Hucknall writer, television personality and transgender activist Paris Lees was honoured with the special gold award at Tuesday’s MHPC’s 30 To Watch awards.
She was named Young Campaigning Journalist of the Year at the prestigious industry event – held at BAFTA – for her work to improve life for trans people.
Now in their fourth year, 30 To Watch is MHP Communications’ annual spotlight on top young media talent – picking out those already setting the news agenda through editorial, print, broadcast or digital reportage early on in their career.
Paris, a former Holgate pupil, said: “This award is lovely on a personal level, but, more importantly, it validates a cause I’m so passionate about – human rights for trans people.”
Speaking of her personal journey into journalism, she added: “When I first transitioned, like many trans people, I was depressed and isolated. I looked to the media for inspiration and all I saw were people like me being ridiculed. Five years on and things are looking very different. I’m very proud to have shared a special moment at the awards with so many promising young journalists who don’t hate but in fact celebrate diversity.”
Gold Awards were presented to five rising stars judged to have gone “above and beyond the industry standard” – with Paris receiving the night’s special award. She has written for titles including The Guardian, the Telegraph, The Independent, VICE, Attitude, Cosmopolitan, i-D, Broadcast, The Irish Times and the Sun.
Paris has also met top media bosses through her awareness-raising project All About Trans. Last year she was named Ultimate Campaigner at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year Awards and was invited to a reception at Downing Street with Samantha Cameron. She has also topped the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List.