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Steve Stanton's transition plan

Editor's Note: This is a typewritten copy of an early draft of Steve Stanton's transition plan that was presented to his transition team, including Mayor Pat Gerard. There are several typos, including the names of Police Chief Lester Aradi, resident Ruby Padgett Brooks and Commissioner Gigi Arntzen.

Published March 16, 2007

Employment Time Schedule

HR Director to Begin Employment Policy and Guidelines:  (Jan 18 - Feb 28)

The city currently has a policy that governor's discrimination and harassment in the work place but it does not specifically address accommodating transgendered employees.   Susan needs to review these sample guidelines and determine what is relevant and necessary.  The final revision should address employment related issue for transgendered employees and not focused on me.  The sample manuals I have seen address most of the issues and questions that people will have. 


Establishment of a "Transition" Group:  (February 12, 2007)

Given the social, political and administrative impact with the gender transition of a high profile public official, it would be a good to work with interested people to review this proposed time schedule as well identify potential problems areas.  The suggested group consisting of you, Eric, Pat Burke, Howard Richy should also the Police Chief and Human Resource Director who can give critical feedback to this transition time schedule.  The following additional members might also be included:


  • An influential Religious Leadership (Possibly Rev. Arnold Johnson)
  • A transgender Specialist suggested by Kathleen Farrell)
  • General city resident who can be supportive and help built a community based support network. (possibly Rubby Pagined)

 Confidential Meeting with Editors of SP Times: (Friday, May 18, 2007) 

I had a brief discussion with Diane eight months ago and told her I was planning on talking with her in the near future to discuss a "personal issue and leadership opportunity."   I am confident that she will meet with you and me off the record in exchange for writing a story prior to the release of the information.  It is critical to have the support of the paper in this effort and I am confident that the Times will be supportive and see this as an opportunity to demonstrate diversity in the work place etc.  Questions to be addressed are:

Should anyone else be included in this meeting?

  • Chief Arodi
  • Personal therapist
  • Independent Transgender Expert
  • Human Resource Director

City Commission Notification by City Manager:  (Wednesday, June 6, 2007)

I will have individual meetings with the remaining members of the City Commission (except Commissioner Black) in the following order:  Woods, Arson, Guyette and Crozier.  I am not really sure of how much advance notice I can, or should, give the Commission.  I feel once they, and their spouses know, the secret will not be a secret very long.


  • I do not want any of them to feel slighted by my delayed disclosure.
  • I trust each one of them but feel it is unfair to place this burden on them and ask them "not to tell"                           
CM meeting with ACM's and Finance Director:  (Thursday, morning, June 7, 2007)

I feel it is appropriate to have individual conversations with each one of these guys outside of the general staff meeting.  Henry and I have worked closely for 17 years and I enjoy a close working relationship with Mac. 


  • Of particular concern with be Kim given is religious belief regarding transsexuals.  Of all directors, I am most worried that he will consider resigning over this.

CM Meeting with Executive Staff:  (Thursday, afternoon, June 7, 2007)

This will be a special staff meeting held in the EOC for maximum privacy.  While directors will obviously be shocked and concerned for both my welfare and future, I  feel they will all be supportive. 


  • Would it be appropriate to have individual meetings with each director the night before as a professional courtesy?
  • I do not have a strong relationship with the two new directors as a result of their short tenure with the city. 


Mayor's Announcement to the City (Thursday, evening, June 7, 2207)

This would be first public disclosure of my transsexualism, future and intention to remain employed as city manager.  This announcement will be a general statement to both the city and the community and include the time, place and attendees of a news conference for the next day.  The announcement would include the following points:

  • City's existing commitment prohibiting discrimination based on gender identification and expression
  • Medical dynamics of transsexualism
  • City Manager's 17 year's of service to the community
  • Executive management support  

City Manager's Letter to City Employees: (Friday morning, June 8, 2007)

This city e-mail will be distributed to all employees the next morning.  It will be a two page letter from me and give personal information about my history and plans for the future.  The letter will acknowledge our mutual discomfort and awkwardness with this situation and my commitment to answer any of their questions and concerns.


  • This e-mail will be made available to media after distribution to employees
  • The e-mail will be prepared in the next month.


City Afternoon News Conference (Friday Afternoon, 2:00 PM, June 8, 2007)

This will be the first opportunity of the general media to ask specific questions of me and you regarding my future and the impact this disclosure will have on my ability to remain city manager.  Key issues to be addressed are as follows:


  • I will attend this conference as Steven but not Susan
  • Who should talk first
  • What should my opening statement consist of?
  • Where should the press conference take place?
  • What is the best time?  I assume about 4:00 to get the coverage behind me. 
  • Who should be in attendance?
    • Mayor
    • Police Chief
    • Fire Chief
    • Dr. Kathleen Farrell and or Personal Physician Dr. Carter
    • Human Resource Director

City Manager Lease of Absence:  (June 11-15, 2007) 

After the news conference, I think it would be advantageous for me to take a leave of absence for one week and give the city time to absorb this news.  In addition, it would also give the Human Resource Department time to meet with employees to address the numerous work place issues that will undoubtedly be in the minds of employees.  Key issues which need to be discussed are:


  • Would my absence create a wild "feeding frenzy"? It is easier to say inflammatory things about someone when they are not present.







Employees and Community Information Workshops:  (June 11-15, 2007)


These workshops will be led by the Human Resource Department, or possibly by a third party who specializes in transgender issues. The purpose of these sessions will be to address the specific questions employees will have regarding the impact on the work place.  A separate workshop should also be scheduled for the general public during evening hours to explain what transsexualism and answer their questions.  Topics to be included at the city workshop would include:


  • Application of city's Discrimination and Harassment policy
  • Use of restrooms and locker rooms
  • Application of city's dress code
  • What name to address city manager
  • General explanation of the transition process
  • What name will appear on the Commission dais



City Manager Returns Back to Work: (June 18, 2007)


This will be the "big day" and will conceivably be of high interest to the media.   It will be the first time the Susan Stanton will present herself to the city and will undoubted cause initial disruptions at city hall.  Key issues to be developed addressed include:


  • Would it be appropriate to be accompanied by another person walking in?
  • Should I provide a picture of what I will look like before showing up for work?
  • Is there value is some lunch time "Come and Meet Susan" type event.  This also will be very awkward but might help employees get passed their discomfort.



Susan Stanton's First City Commission Meeting:  (June 19, 2007)


This first meeting will be the most stressful time for both the City Commission and me.  There will undoubtedly be members of the general public calling for my immediate dismissal as a result of this "immoral life style choice".  I anticipate the same large crowd of people returning to the chambers who objected to the human rights ordinance.  Unfortunately, this time they will have a name and a face to target their anger.  :


  • I need to create a community based support network to speak on my behalf who are not members of the transgender community.
    • This will involving sensitive timing
  • It is imperative that this evening not degenerate into circus like environment
  • Plan of action to address residents who begin to engage in personal attacks.







City Manager Employee Meeting: (June 20, 21 and 22, 2007)


These sessions will be small group discussions with interested employees who want to ask personal questions about transsexualism etc.  There would be no media allowed in these staff discussions.  People need to understand that gender transition is done with the help of medical professionals, in accordance with recognized standards of care that have been in use since the 1960s. I think it would be educational to give a general overview of the transition process:


  • Initial psychological testing to rule out other diagnoses
  • Psychiatric monitoring and counseling over several months to assess extent of condition and
  • understanding of consequences, obstacles, etc.;
  • Health evaluation for hormone therapy;
  • Administration of hormones;
  • Continued monitoring to assess reaction to hormone-induced physical changes;
  • Trial living period of at least one year to ascertain level of comfort in reassigned gender
  • Reassigned gender, sometimes, but not always, accompanied by surgical reconstruction of primary and secondary sex characteristics, facial structure, etc.



City Manager Legal Name Change:  (August 1, 2007)


This will take about two months.  It is my understanding there is a public notice so this legal process can not begin until June.



Gender Reassignment Surgery: (June/July, 2008)

In order to have gender reassignment surgery in the United States, a person must meet six general criteria covered by the Harry Benjamin Standard of Care.  A transsexual person must be

  • Over 18 years old,
  • On continuous hormonal therapy for 12 months without a medical contraindication,
  • Successfully and continuously have a full time real-life experience for12 months,
  • Maintain a regular sessions with a mental health professional throughout the real life experience, and
  • Knowledgeable of the cost, required lengths of hospitalizations, likely complications, and post surgical rehabilitation requirements of various surgical approaches and Awareness of different competent surgeons

The two "readiness criteria" include demonstrable progress in consolidating the new gender identity and dealing with work, family, and interpersonal issues resulting in a significantly better or at least a stable state of mental health.



Pat, it goes without saying, a successful gender transition in this public setting is very much dependent on:


  • Your active and public support in the community,  
  • Susan Sinz's ability to educate and prepare city staff,
  • Chief Arodi's and Jeff Bullock's willingness to communicate their belief that my transgenderism will not impact my effectiveness as a city manager.
  • Pat Burke's ability to develop a community support network to offset the calls for immediate termination
  • My ability to clearly demonstrate this will not critically distract me from my duties and responsibility as city manager and to retain the respect and support of city staff.

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 19:04:17]

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