Dr Stephen Whittle (b. 29 May 1955) is an active member of the United Kingdom TransActivist organisation Press for Change. He has been active in the transsexual community since the age of twenty, in 1975.
Whittle is a Lecturer in the School of Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, co-ordinator of the U.K.’s FTM Network, and vice-president of Press for Change.
Unable to marry legally in the U.K. until the passing of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, he and his wife, Sarah Rutherford, have four children by artificial insemination. The Whittles’ efforts to gain recognition of Stephen as their children’s legal father led to the important XYZ case.
Whittle has actively worked towards changing the laws and social attitudes surrounding transgender and transsexual lives. He has participated in many radio and television programmes. In ‘Make me a Man‘(2002) Sarah and Stephen allowed the television cameras to follow their lives as he underwent phalloplasty surgery whilst continuing his other work at the university, his campaigning, and raising his children.
In 2002 he was awarded 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 U.K., Europe, and around the world.
In the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in 2005, Whittle was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to gender issues.
The Gender Recognition Act came into force in April 2005, and Whittle obtained a new birth certificate. He and his partner Sarah legally married on June 18 2005, which was almost certainly the first legal marriage in the U.K. of a transsexual person and their opposite gender partner.
Whittle has written extensively on the law surrounding transsexual and transgender people, as well as several academic articles on the history and theory of transgender. His writings have included, among other things, an article on the ground-breaking transsexual employment discrimination case decided on by the European Court of Justice.