On Saturday, CNN premiered its new documentary chronicling the transition of Susan Stanton, a Florida woman who was fired from her job as City Manager when she revealed that she would transition from male to female.
In “Her Name was Steven,” Susan Stanton speaks about the challenges facing the transgender community and about her own journey from Steven to Susan.
In 2007, Largo, Florida, City Manager Steven Stanton came out as transgender. Steven was quickly terminated from Largo's City Manager position, but courageously continued the transition process.
Now, Susan Stanton has resumed her role in Floridian politics and works as City Manager in Lake Worth, FL. Stanton says that although her title is the same, she is treated differently as a woman:
“You don’t realize how difficult it is to lead people as a woman because you don’t get the deference as a woman.
“As a guy, when I’m talking, people would stop. But now, sometimes I find myself saying, ‘Excuse me, stop interrupting me.’”
The CNN profile also revealed the isolation that Stanton faced simply by being who she was. Like many transgender people, Stanton says she contemplated suicide and battled depression.
According to the network, "CNN followed Stanton’s life for more than two years [and] the resulting portrait is sensitively told in Stanton’s own voice, with arresting candidness and honesty."
GLAAD is encouraged to see CNN devote a significant amount of coverage to transgender people. Transgender people are our neighbors, coworkers, and friends. They contribute greatly to the rich tapestry of the world and they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Programs like CNN's "Her Name was Steven" are the right step in moving the conversation forward about transgender people.