Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fired Transgender City Manager Front-Runner for New Position

The Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida, reported today a former city manager fired from his job earlier this year after he disclosed her transition is the front-runner for the city manager position in the Gulf Coast city. The Largo City Commission fired Steven Stanton, who applied for the Sarasota position as Susan A. Stanton, in February after commissioners learned Stanton's plans to transition from a man into a woman.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Lesbian & Gay Task Force and other local, statewide and national LGBT advocacy organizations blasted the commissioners' vote. Police also arrested Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith during a Feb. 27 public hearing in Largo after she began to hand out "Don't Discriminate" leaflets.

Stanton's termination remains an outrageous and tragic example of the discrimination that exists for millions of LGBT people everyday. Most accounts indicate Stanton received excellent performance reviews during his 14-year tenure as city manager. Stanton, through no fault of his own, has become a cause celebre that highlights the need for universal anti-discrimination statutes in this country. Sarasota commissioners recognized Stanton's qualifications, and not his gender identity, in their announcement. The same cannot be said for their counterparts in Pinellas County at their own expense.

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