Paris Lees is a pioneer of LGBT+ rights, having transformed representation of the community in the UK. Overcoming the adversity faced by battling with her own identity, Paris has gone on to change laws surrounding sex workers, become the first transgender woman featured in British Vogue and implement progressive change at broadcasting giants like Channel 4. Discussing her influential career at events, Paris discusses how to change society rather than yourself, through education and inclusive principals in workplaces.
As a gay male, in her youth Paris was bullied for her identity at school, leading her on a downward spiral involving substance abuse, and eventually a criminal record. On leaving prison, Paris was changed by her experiences and through a challenging journey, shadowed by grief, a mental health crisis and sex work, she was eventually empowered to live bravely as herself. After undergoing a physical transition from male to female, Paris found true happiness through living authentically.
Having found herself, Paris has become dedicated to supporting others in her position and ensuring acceptance in society. She founded the first trans community magazine in the UK, META and is the former assistant editor of the Gay Times. Her journalistic career has gone from strength to strength and currently, Paris is a contributor to British Vogue, the first transgender columnist for the publication.
Equally prominent in broadcasting, Paris has featured in several documentaries including Growing Up Gay and was the first transgender panellist on Question Time. Such inspirational dedication to raising awareness for LGBT+ rights has led Paris to The Independent’s Pink List making her the most influential LGBT figure in the UK in 2013. As a speaker, Paris presents a candid, moving account of her personal story and offers advice for corporate clients and individuals in developing inclusive attitudes.
Paris Lees is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:
“Paris really resonated with our audience and she spoke so eloquently and honestly. She held the room spellbound. Her talk generated lots of questions in the room and she responded to each question in a truly professional manner and was very willing to share her insights.”
“Last night was such a success and Paris was absolutely fantastic. We have had so much positive feedback and Paris’ talk was incredibly powerful and resonated with everyone in the room.”
“We were delighted to have Paris Lees join us at our NHS Diversity & Inclusion event to deliver the keynote speech. Paris shared her experiences in a very raw and honest way which was eye-opening for delegates in attendance but also very inspirational. Delegates were not short of questions when Paris opened the room up to Q&A and we want to thank her for sharing her story with us. Paris really helped bring in some perspective of why we are wanting to make a positive change for D&I in the NHS!”