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Radio 1: When Paris met Laura

Tonight Radio 1 explores life for young transgender people…


If you’d told us a few years ago that Radio 1 was going to air a documentary about life for transgender people, we’d probably have been a bit shocked. Not quite Beyonce-secret-shit-hot-album-outta-no-where shocked, but surprised. Well, tonight Radio 1 is going to do just that – and although we’re impressed, it feels like a natural end to 2013. Like a bottle of champagne just waiting to be opened, this year transgender just exploded in everyone’s faces. That's right, frothy transgender bubbles all up in your face. There's been sadness. We’ve seen protests outside the Observer’s offices in London (following a transphobic article it published back in March) and read about schoolteacher Lucy Meadow’s suicide following months of unwanted press harassment. There were highlights too. Last month Nikki Sinclaire revealed herself to be Britain’s first trans MEP. The month before that, GT’s very own Paris Lees topped the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List before going on to storm Question Time as the panel’s first openly trans panelist.

Paris also became Radio 1’s first trans presenter earlier this year fronting a documentary about prejudice, the Hate Debate. Tonight she is back to help tell the story of Against Me! front-woman Laura Jane Grace. The punk rockers (pictured above) have played venues around the world, sold thousands of albums and count the Foo Fighters, Joan Jett and Bruce Springsteen as fans. They’re about to release their 6th studio album and it’s called Transgender Dysphoria Blues – so you’ve got a pretty good idea what the theme is going to be.

Laura reveals the struggles she had growing up and how she first saw Madonna and realized she wanted to be a rock star. A female one. A badass one. And now she's made that dream come true and has grown in one of rock music’s most high profile trans women. Back in the UK, Paris discusses her own journey – and then interviews a variety of trans people to find out what life is like for them in modern Britain.

When it comes to winning social acceptance, a fight trans people are still struggling with, ignorance is not bliss. We’ve never heard anything like this on Radio 1 before and we’ll be listening with our ears wide open. And we hope the teenagers and young 'uns tuning in will be listening with open minds and open hearts.

Paris presents My Transgender Punk Rock Story with Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace on BBC Radio 1 at 9pm on Monday

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