Professor Stephen Whittle OBE, PhD is an active member of the United Kingdom TransActivist organisation Press for Change. Whittle is a Professor of Equalities Law in the School of Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 1974 Whittle came ‘out’ as a (FTM) Transman at 19 years of age. He has been active in the transsexual and transgender community ever since the age of 20 when he co-founded the Manchester TV/TS group, the very first support group for transsexual people in the United Kingdom. In 1989, after working with many organizations including The Gender Trust and the Beaumont Society, he founded the UK’s FTM Network. In 1992, he founded and became vice-president of Press for Change. Whittle has actively worked towards changing laws and social attitudes.
He has participated in many radio and television programs. In 2002, Whittle was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Stephen was given the Human Rights Award by the Civil Rights group Liberty, for his commitment and dedication to ensuring the advancement of rights for transsexual people through judicial means in the UK, Europe, and around the world. Though unable to marry legally in the UK until the passing of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, he and his partner (now wife), Sarah Rutherford, have four children by artificial insemination. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 came into force in April 2005, and Whittle obtained a new birth certificate. He and his partner Sarah legally married on 18 June 2005, and jointly adopted their children, so making Stephen the childrens’ legal father, in April 2006.
In the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2005, Whittle was made an OBE for his services to gender issues. In 2006 he was awarded the Virginia Prince Lifetime Achievement Award by the USA’s International Federation for Gender Education. He has also written and spoken extensively on his personal journey. He was awarded The Sylvia Rivera Award and the Lambda Literary Award. His multiple sclerosis has been an increasing problem since late 2005, yet he continues in his full time university post, and his fight for the human rights of trans people throughout he world. In recent years, he has collaborated with the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) on amicus briefs to courts in many jurisdictions. In 2007, he was he first non-medical professional and first Trans person to become President of WPATH.