Thursday, February 22, 2007


Veteran Largo City Manager Steve Stanton had not planned on announcing the news that he was planning on undergoing a sex change and has been preparing for the event through hormone therapy and counseling. At least, not until this summer when his teenage son would be out of town and away from the media glare. But those plans were not to be after the story was leaked to the St. Petersburg Times, which ran the story on it's Web site Wednesday.

Stanton, in talking with area reporters Wednesday backed with Mayor Patricia Gerard and Police Chief Lester Aradi, described his wife as "very upset...This is probably a wife's worst nightmare" but he was especially concerned about his teenage son, noting that "I literally haven't had time to discuss this with my son...Hopefully, he's not watching television."

Knowing that the Times story would be out shortly, Stanton --- who will soon begin using the first name Susan and wearing women's clothes to work as part of his preperation to undergo his yet-unscheduled gender change operation --- sent a hastily drawn e-mail announcement to city employees explaining that he had been seeing a gender thearpist for three years, as well as having undergone extensive psychological testing, hormone therapy, and painful electrolysis for two years.

"Like many transgendered people, I have privately struggled with this very personal matter all my life and have kept it secret from my family, friends and co-workers," Stanton wrote in the e-mail. "I hoped I could outrun it when I got married, became a father and found a job I love. Unfortunately, I was wrong."

While Mr. Stanton has the apparant support of the mayor and police chief, one thing to remember is that four years ago city commissioners refused to approve a proposed city ordinance to protect transgendered people. However, a similarly worded city regulation was approved prohibiting harrassment of protected groups, including transsexuals. It would take a vote of five of the seven city commissioners to terminate Stanton's contract.

Friends, it really shouldn't matter. The man has been the top administrator for 14 years in the Pinellas County city of 75,000. Noone stays around that long without racking up an excellent record at the job. As long as Stanton continues to do the job he was hired to do, it shouldn't matter if the name if Steven or Susan or if he wears a suit and tie or dresses.


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