The firing of a city manager in Florida USA after he decided to undergo a sex change has been condemned by activists.

City commissioners on Saturday finalized the firing of 48 year old Steve Stanton in a six hour hearing, despite pleas from dozens of impassioned supporters to save his job.

US gay and human rights organisations including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, Equality Florida, and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force denounced the actions of the Largo, Florida City Commission for violating its own non-discrimination policy as well as state and federal law.

Stanton is reportedly a successful and accomplished City Manager and has served the City of Largo – with a population of 76 000 – for nearly two decades.

“The Commission’s decision to terminate is a stunning demonstration of bias and intolerance. By choosing discrimination over inclusiveness, the City Commissioners failed Stanton and failed their city,” said the Human Rights Campaign in a statement.

Officials insist however that Stanton is being fired because he announced his sex change plans at a press conference in February, its resulting negative publicity and accusations of bullying – not because he is transsexual.

They say that his actions have caused turmoil and have disrupted city structures.

Stanton has yet to decide if he intends to pursue litigation. He says that he was forced to come out about his transition at the press conference after a reporter found out about his plans. He intends to have gender reassignment surgery next year.

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