NCLR to represent transgender City Manager

Florida city official target of discrimination

March 09, 2007

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) recently announced it will be representing Steve Stanton, who was threatened with termination from his longtime position as the city manager for the city of Largo, Fla., after informing his employer he is transgender and will be undergoing sex-reassignment. On Feb. 27, Largo's City Commission voted 5-2 to ignore its own employment policy which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and to begin termination proceedings against Stanton.

Stanton informed the Commission that he is transgender after learning a local newspaper was going to disclose the information to the public. Stanton's 14 years of dedicated service has been consistently praised and received excellent reviews, and he has received strong support from the mayor of Largo and many Largo residents. The City Commission is seeking to fire Stanton solely because of his transgender status.

"I love this city and it saddens me that some of the commissioners have taken this action without taking the time to understand the issue," said Stanton. "Being transgender doesn't affect my ability to do my job. It hasn't affected my job performance in the last 14 years and it won't affect my ability to do my job in the coming years either. Those who are initially uncomfortable with the change I am making will soon see that I am the same person they have known and respected for years."

NCLR is assisting Stanton in his efforts to educate the City commissioners to persuade them to retract their unlawful action. Stanton hasn�t decided what legal action, if any, may be taken if the City Commission votes again to terminate his contract. He remains hopeful that the City Commission will reconsider its prior vote and permit him to continue serving the city he loves.

Before taking the case, NCLR Senior Counsel Karen Doering, based in NCLR's Southern Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Fla., worked with Largo city employees and officials to educate them about transgender issues.

"Being transgender is not a legitimate reason to fire a highly competent, dedicated public employee,� she said in a release. �We are hopeful the Commission will reconsider its hasty decision, do the right thing, and let Steve get back to work." – Issued by Gay Link Content

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