First openly transgender woman in British Vogue

Gal-Dem magazine founder Liv Little, Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker, campaigner Paris Lees, blogger Dina Tokio, artist Gillian Wearing, writer Reni Eddo-Lodge and Labour MP Stella Creasy.


Paris Lees (third from left) appears with (l-r) Gal-Dem magazine founder Liv Little, Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker, blogger Dina Tokio, artist Gillian Wearing, writer Reni Eddo-Lodge and Labour MP Stella Creasy

A model, writer and campaigner has become the first openly transgender woman to be featured in British Vogue.

Paris Lees is included in a feature celebrating 100 years since women have had the right to vote in the UK.

She is joined by writer Reni Eddo-Lodge, Women’s Equality Party’s Sophie Walker, artist Gillian Wearing, MP Stella Creasy, blogger Dina Tokio and Gal-Dem magazine founder Liv Little.

Lees thanked the magazine for including her in the “special moment”.

“Look how far we’ve come,” she said.

“It’s insane that I could be in Vogue. A trans kid from a council estate.

“People at school told me I’d never be a girl, would never be pretty enough, would never be accepted – well here I am being celebrated as a woman.”

April Ashley, one of the first Britons to undergo genital reconstruction surgery, modelled for Vogue in the 1950s. She was outed by tabloids as trans in the 1960s.

In 2017, French Vogue featured a transgender model on its cover for the first time.

And in 2014, American Vogue profiled trans model Andreja Pejic.

Lees has also hit back at criticism of her inclusion in Vogue on Twitter, calling for the social media network’s chief executive Jack Dorsey to take anti-trans hate crime seriously.

Lees began her career writing for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) press and has written for newspapers including the Guardian, Independent and Telegraph.

She founded META, a digital magazine for trans people and was also the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of DIVA, a magazine for lesbian and bisexual women.

She said: “When I was growing up, you rarely saw trans people in public life and only then as objects of ridicule, pity or disgust.

“We’ve still got a long way to go before we reach equality and it’s important we fight for all women.”

Swedish fashion photographer Julia Hetta took the women’s portrait that is in the February issue of the magazine.

It is the third issue of Vogue to be published with editor Edward Enninful at the helm.