In an article published in Sunday’s St. Petersburg Times, Susan Stanton, who was fired last March from her job as City Manager of Largo, Florida shortly after she announced that would be beginning her transition from male to female, said that she doesn’t feel like other transgender people, and that she feels uncomfortable looking at some of us, “…like I’m seeing a bunch of men in dresses.”. Stanton went on to say that she believes that it’s too early for transgender people to be federally protected from discrimination.
“People need more time, more education. The transgender groups boo me, now, when I speak. Isn’t that ironic?…But I don’t blame the human rights groups for separating the transgender people from the protected groups. Most Americans aren’t ready for us yet. Transgender people need to be able to prove they’re still viable workers — especially in the mainstream. The biggest issue against the federal legislation is that politicians think the ladies’ rooms will be invaded by guys in drag, instead of someone like me.”
“Ironic”? Really? It’s ironic that most members of a violently persecuted minority group don’t agree with Stanton that we should be happy to continue waiting years, perhaps even decades, before we are protected against discrimination in the workplace, that we believe that protecting our right to pursue the American Dream is just as valid and just as urgent as that of any other American minority group?
What really is ironic is that someone who served 14 years in high-profile government position proving herself a viable worker, as she puts it, receiving promotions, raises, and praise from her co-workers, and then was summarily fired immediately after announcing their status as a transgender person, could utter these words with a straight face.
Perhaps I should be more forgiving here. It’s clear that Susan Stanton has little, if any, real understanding of the history of our movement, the politics surrounding it, and the fight for transgender equality in general. She obviously doesn’t know the relevant (credible) poll numbers, which consistently indicate between 60-70% support nationwide for protecting Transgender-Americans from discrimination. She’s never marched with us, protested with us, spoken out on our behalf, or served in a leadership or activist position, or any position of note within the transgender community.
What has she actually done for the transgender community? Well, she’s told her story in the media any number of times. She’s appeared in newspapers and on television and radio shows to talk about herself. She’s told her story at various speaking engagements around the country, including one I attended here in New Jersey. She’s…um…well, I guess that’s about it.
Watch for Stanton to soon become a spokestrans for the Human Rights Campaign and perhaps even a member of the much-rumored “Good Tranny Brigade”, a handful of wealthy, well-groomed, straight-looking transgender people being personally selected by Barney Frank to testify before Congress about transgender inclusion in ENDA at some point before it comes up for another vote. Stanton’s publicly stated views fit right in with the HRC/House Democratic leadership agenda to protect Congressional Democrats from feeling obligated to do the right thing by all LGBT Americans, and to somehow try to convince Members and the American public during an election year that passing an ENDA solely for those who look and act like straight people has the transgender seal of approval.
You’d think that Susan Stanton, of all people, would get it, that she’d understand better than most where our community is socially and politically and why we’re so passionate about fighting for the same rights and ability to make a living free from discrimination other Americans enjoy as a matter of course or, at the very least, considered worthy by our “progressive” government leaders of fighting for, but once a conservative politico, always a conservative politico, I suppose.
Earlier today, I invited Susan Stanton to appear on my radio show. I’ll be interested to see if she’s willing to get into these issues with me on the air, or if she’ll pull a “Joe Solmonese” and run the other way, as he did when he stopped posting at the Bilerico Project, citing a hostile environment toward HRC, instead of stepping up, defending himself and his organization from the opposing views of many of our contributors and readers, and entering into a real discussion and debate of the relevant issues.
As far as I can see, Susan Stanton isn’t a transgender community leader, not even really a follower, nor will she ever be seen as one. What she is is apparently just another self-hating Queer, making excuses for others treating people who differ from the norm like garbage. In other words, she’s just yet another right-wing conservative, regardless of what outfit she happens to put on the morning.