Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Susan Stanton

I first read this article about Susan Stanton a couple of weeks ago:

Mayor Backs Official Undergoing Sex Change

Steve Stanton, City Manager of Largo, FL, announced that he was transgendered, and would soon start living as a woman. She had the mayor's support, and the other city officials seemed to be understanding. Overall, I thought it was a rather inspirational story. Then, just a few days later, a read a follow-up to the story. Turns out Stanton is getting booted out of office after all. There's a good (but long) article about it here:

His Second Self

It's hard to find an unbiased article, but I hear that the Largo City Commission was influenced by a very loud local church. Look, if the people vote to have her step down, it's hard to argue with that. That's democracy - the majority gets to decide, even if that majority is made up of idiots. But this is like firing someone because she's a woman. You just can't do that. Or, if you think of transgenderism as a birth defect, it's like firing someone because they're handicapped. Another bad idea.

Of course, in their minds, it's probably more like firing someone because they're gay. Uh... you really can't do that either. And if this goes through, it's going to set a lousy precedent. Stanton is facing a hearing, on "moral" charges, because of aspects of her life that have nothing to do with her ability to do her job. She is in trouble for who she is, not for anything she's done.

Transgenderism is not a choice, it's something you simply are. Yes, you can choose whether or not to cross-dress. You can choose whether or not to have the surgery. But your other self is going to come out eventually, no matter how hard you try to suppress it. You can not simply choose to be "normal". You can't choose to have a male brain any more than you can choose to be heterosexual or caucasian or naturally blonde. So while Stanton may have made the choice to start living as a woman, it wasn't really a choice at all.

But wait, the plot sickens. During the commission hearing, Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith was arrested for handing out flyers supporting Stanton. Apparently distributing the flyers was in violation of a city ordinance. Why? Well, according to this site (again, very biased, so form your own opinion), it's because flyers are supposedly a fire hazard and people can slip on them. Note, Smith wasn't throwing flyers around, she was handing them to people. If you see someone drop a flyer on the ground, you can arrest them for littering. But arresting someone for handing pieces of paper to other people? Calling it a felony? With a $5,000 bail? Where do you come up with that?

Florida's not my favorite state... it's hot, it has hurricanes, and it has trouble voting. But on the plus side, it's got more theme parks than churches, it's shaped like a giant penis, and it has birds and trees right out of Dr. Seuss. So I guess I can give or take Florida. But Largo... you're on my list. In big bold letters, right between Paul McHugh and Jack Chick. Heck, I might even forget about Jack Thompson for a while; there's bigger fish to fry.

It must be nice to be religious. You can say the most outrageous things, and then just say, "Well, God said so." You can hate anyone you want, just call them a blasphemer. You can claim that women shouldn't have the same rights as men. If you work at it, you can even make a case for white supremecy. It must be great to be able to declare your own race/sex/beliefs to be superior to all others, and then justify your claims by saying, "It says so right here in the good book!"

If you would like to show your support for Susan Stanton, here's her e-mail address: sstanton@largo.com

If you would like to complain to Largo's commissioners, here's their collective e-mail address: Commission@largo.com

Or if you'd rather call, here's the number for Largo City Hall: (727) 587-6700

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