Stephen Whittle: Body of work

The law lecturer tells Chris Arnot how being a transsexual has put him at the forefront of a political movement

Stephen Whittle knew from an early age that he wanted to teach. He also knew that he wanted to be a man. There was one rather fundamental problem, however. He had been born female. “I imagined myself becoming one of those spinsterish teachers I’d read about in Bunty, in tweed skirts and twin sets,” he grins, discreetly dabbing cappuccino froth from his slightly greying beard.

We are in a bar in his home city, just over the road from Manchester Metropolitan University where he is now Stephen Whittle OBE, professor of equalities law. The woman he once was has gone forever. “When I look in the mirror,” he says, “I can’t conceive of my old self. In fact, I can’t bring myself to mention her name – even to my kids, and they’re dying to know.”