GIRES Research Award for 2000

See the GIRES Annual Research Awards page to read about the awards and the criteria used by the GIRES trustees in evaluating entries for the annual award.

Awarded to Dr Stephen Whittle of Manchester Metropolitan University


Published in Hegarty A, Leonard S: “Human Rights: An Agenda for the 21st Century”, 1999, London: Cavendish Publishing.

The book in which Stephen’s work is published will provide one of the main educational texts for all law students who study in the area of human rights, civil liberties and, most importantly, European Law which is for most students a compulsory subject. Consequently, there will be very few law students in Britain not presented with this text during their studies.

The significance of the paper lies in the repositioning of the legal issues of importance to the trans community. Of recent years, with community education, the matters of concern have changed. The paper clearly illustrates that instead of the legal changes now being sought being only about birth certificates and marriage, the campaign for legal change is now about:

  • the right to personal physical safety
  • the right to keep a job regardless of a transgendered status and resultant lifestyle
  • the right to be treated equally before the law particularly in relationship rights
  • the right to medical (including reassignment) treatment if requested

This new understanding is crucial for all lawyers who are working with the trans community, not just here in Britain but also worldwide. It is only by realizing the real issues that lawyers will ever be able to help trans people achieve their status in society as equal citizens. The chapter is easily understood. It makes it quite clear that the battle for trans rights is not in anyway unique, but rather it is a battle for respect and equality of all people, in a system whereby gender presentation or legal sex status should not be relevant to most aspects of our lives as human beings.

The way in which it addresses problems, and its focus on the International Bill of Gender Rights shows that Human Rights are rights regardless of sex or gender, and in this way the chapter should ensure that in future trans people not only get a better understanding from their lawyers, but it should also ensure that lawyers are able to help them fight in the courts for what is really important in their lives.

Click here to read a synopsis of the paper.

If you would like to read or download the complete paper see below.

Transgender Rights: The Full Paper (PDF, 139KB).