The Tampa Bay Area (in Florida) has become a great area for scandals; many of them make world news. The latest one surrounds Steve Stanton, the City Manager for Largo (one of the suburbs here). He was about to go through a sex change operation, but word got out before the operation occurred. The city council fired him yesterday.
Reaction is mixed. Some people are furious with the city council, others are applauding it. News hounds have descended in droves to interview Steve, who is very happy to give interviews left and right.
The question that underpins all of this: Are sex change operations a choice or a necessity? If they're a choice, and we feel that choice is reprehensible to the majority of Largo's citizens, then he can and should be fired. But what if, as Stanton will undoubtedly argue, it's a necessity?
In some cities in California, sex change operations (known to the politically correct as "sex reassignment surgery") are now covered through insurance for any government employees but this policy is being re-assessed in many areas.
The IRS Office of Chief Counsel ruled that sex change operations are a cosmetic procedure, unless due to a congenital abnormality, an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease, which are required to qualify for a medical deduction. Most Sex Reassignment patients are diagnosed as suffering from Gender Identity Disorder and must have a doctor’s recommendation to undergo the surgery.
Traditional Values Coalition Chairman Louis Sheldon says, “There is a whole network of individuals on the internet who think they would be better off having their arms or legs chopped off. Should surgeons help these people who suffer from what’s called ‘apotemnophilia’ to remove their arms and legs? Of course, not. These individuals have a mental problem – not a physical problem.” He then adds that people who wish to undergo sex change operations "...should not be encouraged to have life-altering surgery to fix a problem inside the mind.”
Historically, the court system has always upheld the employer's right to fire under such circumstances, ruling repeatedly that Title VII does not embrace transsexual discrimination.
So Steve Stanton has a weight of evidence against him. His only feasible argument is that it's elective cosmetic surgery, but as he admitted, he "had an eight-page plan to acclimate staff. He believed his employees would have accepted him as a woman if he had had a chance to educate them," according to the St. Pete Times. There is no other cosmetic surgery that requires an 8-page plan in order "acclimate" anyone. This in itself indicates the extremity of the situation.
Obviously sex change operations are a choice: Not only is the evidence of this overwhelming, but the court of public opinion has already weighed in.