FEBRUARY 28, 2007
The veteran city manager of a small Florida municipality plans to remain in his six-figure salary job while he undergoes a sex change operation and after the transformation has been completed.
Largo’s city manager of 14 years, Steven Stanton, says he has known since childhood that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. A week ago he sent out a lengthy electronic mail to the 1,200 city employees he supervises detailing his decision to undergo a sex change.
A married father of a teenaged son, Stanton wrote that many transsexuals are forced to quietly leave their jobs but he intends to keep his throughout the lengthy sex change process which includes years of pre surgery counseling, hormone treatments and cross dressing. Stanton, who also supervises a city budget of $130 million, emphasized to his subordinates that he is unwilling to just walk away and hide.
Reactions have been mixed within the scenic Gulf Coast city of 76,000 and its seven commissioners are divided on whether to support Stanton throughout the rigorous sex change process. Mayor Patricia Gerard supports him unconditionally and has appeared with him at several press conferences to demonstrate solidarity.
Other commissioners have expressed doubt and even suggested firing Stanton, or at least putting him on paid leave until a permanent decision can be made. Evidently they want to keep the city’s longtime reputation as a quaint community defined by a family-friendly atmosphere, tree-lined streets and award-winning parks not to mention the state’s lowest crime rate.
A male city manager who dresses up as a woman and takes female hormones as he prepares to have a sex operation probably wouldn’t fit in too well with that particular image.
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