Paris Lees Knows
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Still, I think they used to be far better back when I was keener to impress; my lovers and myself. I’ve been told I’m the best, by many men. Many. Sometimes, as I’m eating a banana, for example, I wonder if anyone came along to please them better than me, or if I remain Giver of Best Head. That’s a title I gave myself, by the way.
Blowjobs, you see, are the only thing I had ever been recognised for until last Friday.
Yes, on Friday, at a black tie event in the Manchester Midland hotel, and to my great surprise, I took home the Positive Role Model Award for LBGT. Role Model. Ha! It seems I have more than just a bad reputation and fab gag reflex after all.
More than anything, I’m pleased the award went to a trans person. The National Diversity Awards were refreshingly trans-inclusive; I’ve been to many so-called diversity events were diversity seems only to extend to race and sexuality. Disabled and trans people are often invisible, but the National Diversity Awards lived up to its name.
Peter Tatchell was recognised for his life-long commitment to equality. Peter is frequently snubbed by the establishment (you probably won’t see him at government equality receptions – some equality campaigners are clearly less equal than others). He looked relaxed, happy and genuinely humble, though he needn’t have been. He deserved his rapturous standing ovation.
Trans people deserve recognition too – and we’re increasingly gaining it. In 2005, Stephen Whittle and Christine Burns were honoured by the Queen for their work to secure legal rights for trans people. This year, socialite April Ashley will follow in their footsteps and collect her MBE. As one of the first (and certainly the most high-profile) Brits to undergo medical transition in the 1950s, she raised awareness where none previously existed. So now we raise a toast to her, and smile.
In fact I smiled so much on Friday that, as I fell asleep, my jaw was aching something rotten. I find that always happens, though, when I’ve been having fun…
Photo: Ryan Harding Photography