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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
April 20, 2007

Fired city manager decides not to

Stanton will do education and advocacy work

Largo, Fla.--The city manager who was fired after her impending gender reassignment surgery was revealed will not sue the city, she told Larry King Live on April 13.

Steve Stanton, who will take the name Susan after the surgery this summer, saw her 14-year tenure with the city terminated with a 5-2 vote on March 24. The vote, identical to an earlier one, came after four hours of testimony in favor of keeping the accomplished administrator.

Instead of seeking legal recourse against Largo, Stanton will instead devote herself to education and advocacy work on behalf of the transgender community.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision,” Stanton said. “I was devastated by the commission’s rush to judgment and discriminatory decision to fire me simply for being transgender.”

Stanton, who is already undergoing hormone therapy, continued, “What the commission did was shocking and cruel, and clearly unlawful. It is tempting to seek retribution in the courts, but after much reflection and soul-searching, I just cannot find it within my heart to sue Largo, a city I have always and will always love.”

The city does not have an LGBT rights ordinance, but city policy does prevent discrimination in municipal employment, which would likely have helped Stanton’s case had she decided to file suit against the Largo City Commission. However, she believed that such a suit would have hurt the people of Largo more than it would have helped her.

“I do not want to punish the citizens of Largo,” she said. “This is a time for healing, not more conflict. And ultimately, I believe I will have more influence as an educator than as a plaintiff.”

“What happened to Steve is a crystal clear example of the type of employment discrimination that transgender people experience every day around the United States,” said Mara Kiesling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has fought long and hard for federal employment protections to stop just this type of discrimination.”

Stanton came out as transgender in February when the St. Petersburg Times called her to confirm rumors. She had already planned to tell the city commission in the late spring or early summer when her son was out of town, but she acknowledged her status to the newspaper, sparking the controversy.



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