FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 13, 2007
"This is a time for healing, not more conflict."
(St. Petersburg, FL, April 13, 2007) — Today, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) client Steven Stanton and NCLR Senior Counsel Karen Doering announced on "Larry King Live" that Stanton has decided to focus on education and public advocacy on behalf of the transgender community rather than file a lawsuit against the City he faithfully served for the past seventeen years. On March 23, 2007, the City Commission of Largo, Florida voted 5-2 to terminate Stanton after learning that he is transgender and intends to transition from male to female. Stanton served as the Largo City Manager for the past 14 years and consistently received excellent reviews. Prior to serving as City Manager, Stanton worked for the City for three years as Assistant City Manager.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision," said Stanton. "I was devastated by the Commission's rush to judgment and discriminatory decision to fire me simply for being transgender. What the Commission did was shocking and cruel, and clearly unlawful. It is tempting to seek retribution in the courts, but after much reflection and soul searching, I just cannot find it within my heart to sue Largo-a city I have always and will always love. I do not want to punish the citizens of Largo. This is a time for healing, not more conflict. And ultimately, I believe I will have more influence as an educator than as a plaintiff."
"Steve Stanton is a visionary leader," said Karen Doering, Senior Counsel for NCLR. "His decision to choose peace and healing over continued divisiveness is bold and courageous. What a great country we would have if we had more leaders like Steve Stanton in public service."
NCLR will continue to work with Stanton in the organization's public education and advocacy programs. Stanton will also join the national Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) in its Congressional education efforts.
"What happened to Steve is a crystal clear example of the type of employment discrimination that transgender people experience every day around the United States," said Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director. "The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has fought long and hard for federal employment protections to stop just this type of discrimination. We look forward to working with Steve as we build Congressional support for the much needed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)."
In regards to the future, Stanton said, "In addition to working to educate the public about transgender people, I want to continue working in my profession and prove that Susan Stanton can be every bit as effective a City Manager as Steve Stanton was."
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.
The National Center for Transgender Equality is a social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.