Editor's Note: We received numerous comments online regarding our interview with Largo City Manager Steve/Susan Stanton ("In His Own Words" by David Warner, March 7). Most were supportive, though the conversation did branch off into a nature-vs.-nurture debate that is difficult to excerpt here; if you're familiar with "the original Zhou/Gooren/Aschemann/Swaab report that everyone knows" and "the Reifenstein syndrome," among the many references that came up in this discussion, read more here.
Good to read such a major piece on the debacle in Largo in regard to City Manager Stanton. Perhaps your printing deadline did not allow your companion piece by Wayne Garcia to include the fact that Tuesday morning over a dozen clergy gathered with about 300 other religious believers to denounce bigotry and support civil justice.
Rev. George LaVoo, Moderator, United Church of Christ Suncoast Rainbow Coalition
Editor's Reply: The print deadline did preclude our covering the clergy gathering in the March 7 issue, but Alex Pickett does give a report this week on the demonstration.
Susan, I think it is great that you are standing up for what you believe in. I know how hard it is living the wrong gender, I did it for 38 years. I hope you keep your job, but I see a lot of positive things coming out for the good of the LGBT community. I knew when I was 5 or 6 something was wrong; as I grew older, I thought I was the only one, and now today there are many of us. I wish you and your family the best, and hopefully, for those that voted against you on DARK Tuesday, the lights will be on next time. I hope in April, we will hear "City Manager Susan Stanton" followed by long and loud applause. My 11- and 15-year-old daughters support you, as well as my mom.
In an otherwise excellent interview, where our hearts go out to Steve/Sue, I yet was a bit troubled about the reference to "drags." It seems that Steve (Sue) seems to imply that somehow if a city manager went out in drag (dressed as a girl) queen, it would "rightly" bring disrepute to the city but if the manager in question was dressed more soberly, it would not.
I am sorry, I don't get it. The same bigotry, lynch-mob mentality and religious fanaticism which wanted to see Sue hung and cut up to dry will be the same ones who will cry "foul" while seeing a "drag" queen. Why is it superior for someone to dress conservatively as opposed to flamboyantly, with all the girly frills and being provocative to boot — that tells the bigots to s* off?
I get a bit irritated when we quarrel amongst ourselves and try to fit ourselves into neat little well-defined "boxes" and feel superior to others. We seem to run the risk then of sharing with those other (bigots) whom we rightfully condemn. Why not let's just say there is gender identity (you are who you think you are and that might change moment to moment) and gender expression (how we express our gender or try to hide it or try to mock it) — and we have a right to our gender identity as much as our gender expression and it is time that this be the law of the land and the world.
To someone like myself who (while supportive and extremely open-minded) doesn't have very much knowledge about the transgender community, this article was very informative and well-written. Kudos to you, Creative Loafing. And while I'm not a resident of Largo, I'd like to say that I'm pleasantly surprised to find such a brave person at its helm. It will be a sad, embarrassing day for all of FL (again) if Steve Stanton were to lose his job over this.
Unfortunately after only six years of living here, it's things like this that make me want to move somewhere a little more progressive. The whole area needs to jump forward about 20 years! Largo is the City of Progress as much as Tampa is a City of Arts.
Why now, all of a sudden? Steve Stanton's management style, at the very least, can be described as heavy-handed and controversial. For example, his forced-annexation policy — which includes threatening to discontinue Largo-supplied sewer service to those who refuse to annex into the city — has created an atmosphere of hostility between Largo and other local governments. And his decision to fire a sanitation worker — who took time off during Hurricane Charley to tend to his elderly mother — angered residents and non-residents alike. Yet Largo's City Commission members always looked the other way, perhaps because they liked the increased taxes his annexation policy generated. Now that Stanton wants a sex change, a few commissioners all of a sudden say they had to vote to fire him because of his management style. Sorry, folks ... too late. Stanton should've been raked over the coals for the other stuff when it happened. Firing him for it now just doesn't pass the smell test.