FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 28, 2007
City Manager Steve Stanton Target of Discrimination
(St. Petersburg, FL, February 28, 2007) — Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights expressed deep disappointment with the discriminatory action of the Largo, Florida City Commission, which voted 5-2 last night to ignore its own employment policy which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and begin termination proceedings against City Manager Steven Stanton. Stanton's announcement last week that he is transsexual and will soon begin transitioning from male to female ignited controversy. Stanton, who received excellent reviews as the Largo City Manager over the past 14 years, confirmed he was transgender when questioned by a local newspaper.
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Senior Counsel Karen Doering, based in NCLR's Southern Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, will continue to work with city employees and officials to educate them about transgender issues and to encourage the City Commission to reconsider its vote.
"NCLR applauds the courage and leadership demonstrated by Mayor Patricia Gerard and Commissioner Rodney Woods in refusing to cave in to the mob mentality that permeated last night's meeting," said Doering. "Some city commissioners are sending the message that it is okay to discriminate against people for who they are. The Commission's decision to commence termination proceedings is a stunning illustration of intolerance. Largo calls itself 'the city of progress' and I hope it lives up to that promise and brings an end to this shameful discrimination."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.