Paris Lees is an author, writer and broadcaster. She has been described as “the voice of a generation” by i-D magazine, “the fierce and fearless voice we need” by Dazed and one of Britain’s seven “new Suffragettes” by British Vogue. Though it sounds like hyperbole, her career has been truly ground-breaking. A Contributing Editor at British Vogue, she has written everywhere from the Guardian to the Telegraph, the Sun to Attitude magazine and she is both Channel 4 and Radio 1’s first transgender presenter.
Her debut book, What It Feels Like for a Girl, a memoir based on her life aged 13 to 18, was published by Penguin Books in 2021. Her documentary, The Hate Debate, earned critical acclaim as BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week, not to mention a BBC Radio Awards nomination. Broadsheet critics praised her for doing "a fine job of provoking her listeners" and for seeming "genuinely interested in the opinions of the young people she interviewed.”
She also co-founded All About Trans, a project to introduce media professionals to young trans people in a bid to combat ignorance and improve media coverage. All About Trans has met with hundreds of media professionals over the past few years, leading the BBC to commission the first sitcom starring a trans actor playing a lead role, Boy Meets Girl.
In 2013, the Independent on Sunday named her the most influential person in Britain’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Despite a troubled upbringing in a working-class area including years of violent bullying for being different, she graduated with a first-class degree in English Language and Literature in 2009. She currently plans “world domination by 2030’.
She was Question Time’s first and so far only openly trans woman panellist. Her debut appearance earned praise across the political spectrum, from John Prescott to Iain Dale. She was also the first openly transgender woman in Britain to appear in British Vogue - and made headlines again in December 2018 when she was named the publication’s first columnist from the transgender community. Last year she appeared on Bear Gryll’s Celebrity Island, the first trans person to take part in the series.
In the March 2014 issue of Attitude magazine, in a feature to introduce her to the magazine as Editor-at-Large, Paul Flynn wrote:
“Her media career is now in full, delightful swing. TV production companies call her to suggest ideas, radio stations ask for her first hand opinion. Now that complete gay legal equanimity is in sight, trans is the next big issue moving centre frame… Paris is now odds-on favourite to blow the transsexual question up in the same way Owen Jones has with class, Laurie Penny with feminism, Jack Monroe with benefits and Tamsin Omond with environmentalism. Together they form a loose vanguard and match-fit rebuff against the idea that young people aren’t really arsed about politics just because they’ve lost faith in the political process. They are expert media polymaths.”
Film, TV & Theatre
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE FOR A GIRL
Hera / BBC
TV adaptation of Paris' book
BOY MEETS GIRL
Tiger Aspect Productions