For the last six months, Paris Lees has been investigating the topic of prejudice related to homophobia, transphobia, racism, and other forms of subtle and irrational bigotry for BBC.
She has taken those experiences and created a documentary, called “Hate Debate,” airing at 9pm PST on March 25. It will also be available on iPlayer.
Paris Lees will be the first transgender woman to present a BBC documentary.
“I wanted to know why minorities sometimes hate and humiliate other marginalized groups,” wrote Lees in the Telegraph. “As an equality campaigner and someone who’s been on the receiving end of prejudice far too often, I’m passionate about challenging it in all its forms.”
In the “Hate Debate” Lees provokes victims of prejudice to examine themselves as perpetrators of prejudice as well. As the editor of META Magazine and an influential transgender activist, Lees investigates the reasons behind why individuals communicate pre-judgments and discrimination against other minority group members.
She discusses with real people in the streets about how language, representation, perception of self, and cultural norms conflict within every human as they live as a part of a larger society.
“Although I know it’s wrong, when I see a woman in a burka, part of me can’t help wondering if her husband or father has made her wear it… So why do I have these thoughts? Is it a defense?” she asks.
Lees recognizes and questions her own prejudices in the “Hate Debate,” sure to not leave her own perception out of the conversation.
“I admit it both disgusts and interests me that I have these thoughts – and it’s something I think we should all question in ourselves. We need to be honest,” Lees goes on.
Making her work personal is not unusual for Lees. This year she began a personal blog and her latest entry called for more support to be brought to transgender children, being a transgender woman herself.
“The important thing is that trans children exist. It doesn’t matter why they exist. They deserve the same human rights as everyone else – they must be protected from violence and abuse. They are likely to be vulnerable and need protection. Oftentimes from their families,” voiced Lees.
Follow Paris Lees on twitter and tune into BBC Radio 1 to watch “Hate Debate” tonight.