Susan Stanton (formerly Steve Stanton) is a finalist to become city manager of Iowa city. She used to work as the city manager of Largo, Florida before she was fired for having a sex change. It was heart wrenching to read her story of transition, of how friends, coworkers and her employer abandoned her, but heartening to hear of those who rallied around her. While the media attention on Susan dwarfs her experience being a woman (as some have noted), I think it’s wonderful that she is finding doors open for her. Even though she may not be the “perfect” representative for the transgender community, her success, as high profile as it is, will help many people realize that there is more to us than the clothes we wear and the pills we take.
I applaud Iowa for looking at Susan’s “skills, knowledge, ability, education and work history”, and are basing their decision “souly on her resume and qualifications”. I’m especially impressed that some in Iowa have noted Susan’s sex change as a positive, that gives her the ability to empathize with people from many walks of life. I know that in my own experience being transgender, I have become more tolerant and understanding of others who are different from me. I’ve also learned that there are more compassionate, loving people in the world than obnoxious assholes. It’s an unfortunate fact that obnoxious assholes are usually loud, and drown out the kind caring words of others unless we listen.