The Stonewall Award recognizes lawyers, members of the judiciary and legal academics who have affected real change and removed barriers due to sexual orientation or gender identity in the legal profession. The award also recognizes those who have championed diversity for the LGBT community. Whittle will receive the award at a reception on Feb. 8 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Chicago.
“Stephen Whittle is being honored for being a courageous pioneer in educating the legal profession and society about transgender issues, as well as for being a tireless advocate for transgender rights,” said Jim Holmes, chair of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Whittle is a professor of equalities law and has taught for the past 20 years at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England.
Whittle transitioned to living permanently in his preferred gender role in 1975 at age 19, at a time when transsexual people were viewed as either mentally ill or sexual perverts. He was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's New Year's Honours List in 2005 for his work on transgender people's rights. Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002, he continues to work full time and is engaged in various volunteer activities.
The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity leads the ABA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the ABA, the legal profession and society. Created in 2007, the commission seeks to secure equal treatment in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
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