Homophobic Sue Stanton?

Change.org has a petition up in support of a gay club that’s gotten some homophobic response from city government over noise complaints.

The Cottage, 522 Lucerene Avenue, Lake Worth, FL has been under attack by a small group of local residents who are using the city’s noise ordinance to harass The Cottage.  Noise complaints have been made by four residents on almost a daily basis for the past three years.  The noise complaints began shortly after The Cottage began its Sunday Tea Dances and branded itself as the only gay-friendly, downtown restaurant in Lake Worth. Many times when the police have responded to a complaint, The Cottage has not even had any live music playing.  The police in general are sympathetic and understand that The Cottage is being unfairly targeted but must continue to respond to the calls.

After a year of harassment, The Cottage reached out to the city for assistance.  Unfortunately, the City chose to enable and feed the underlying homophobic current, instead of helping a viable and community oriented business as well as honoring its own civil rights ordinance which provides protection for sexual orientation and gender expression.

In May of 2009, Loretta Lutfy, proprietor of The Cottage, along with family friend and local gay rights advocate, Mike Zewe, met with City Manager Susan Stanton to seek assistance to stop the harassment.  Instead of receiving support from Ms. Stanton, they were dismissed from her office with homophobic remarks.

Ms. Lutfy says, “She (Stanton) first asked if I would consider stopping the Tea Dance for awhile.  I responded that I would close my entire business first. She dismissed Mike and me from the office ending the conversation by saying that “men in dresses, and men dancing with men is offensive.  If you continue, you will just have to suffer the consequences.'”

For the next year, The Cottage, knowing that they had no support from the City, felt the only choice was to bear the harassment and hope it would stop.  Unfortunately, it has not and Susan Stanton has joined the four complaining residents in their crusade to chip away at the business until it has no choice but to close.  Stanton has added to the attack by sending code enforcement daily to The Cottage to look for violations. She went as far to change the hours of the code enforcement office to send employees at all hours of the day and threatened criminal prosecution.

What isn’t mentioned is that Stanton herself is trans; she quite famously & publicly transitioned a few years back, so I’m certainly not outing her.

First, I’d love to hear some verification of these claims from someone in that neck of the woods: I know you’re out there, so either post a comment or send me an email.

16 Replies to “Homophobic Sue Stanton?”

  1. This might be a “tempest in a teapot” as there is little if any info on the web. The only reference to the petition even is way down the list when you Google “The Cottage Lake Worth FL” There are lots of reviews and such but little info or background on this situation. ??? One would think that this would have either been resolved by now OR this may have been exaggerated or mis-stated???

  2. I’m sorry but this story does not sound believable to me. I’ve met Susan Stanton and heard her speak. She is a very level headed person. As a person who is trans, I can not imagine in a million years that she would describe transgender folks as “men in dresses”. Yes, I’m sure she is sensitive to how the straight community might be uncomfortable with public displays of affection by GLBT people. This sounds to me like sour grapes from a business owner who is unwilling to compromise but I may be wrong. Has Susan Stanton displayed homophobia or transphobia during her job as City Manager of Lake Worth? If there is a pattern then maybe this story would be more credible. If not, then I doubt we are getting the full story.

  3. “I can not imagine in a million years that she would describe transgender folks as “men in dresses”

    Nikki, she did say this. More than once.

  4. I have no doubt it’s a tempest in a teapot. After all it’s one club in a small city in Florida. Let’s get real here. But Ms. Stanton distanced herself from transwomen the beginning of her transistion, noting she didn’t consider herself one of them. The worse comments were noted in news stories and denied by her, so it’s one side against the other, but let’s not forget she courted the reporters and CNN, the latter in return for partial payment for her SRS.

    And Ms. Stanton knows where her political loyalties, and her paycheck, lie as the city manager, it’s not with the club or the LGBT community. We can argue she could do more to allow the club to continue instead of pushing for its closure as reported and as the police have substantiated the complaints as unfair and even harrassment.

    Ms. Stanton is not alone, as many post-transistion women do, in that they walk away from their past and any connection to anything “trans” to ensure they are treated as women. Why would we expect anything different from her in a (contract) political position? After all, she was fired from her last job for being something “trans”, something she didn’t want or expect, and with full pay and benefits for a year, something often lost in the stories then.

  5. It is difficult to go stealth when you have your own Wikipedia page. Now how is it that she can distance herself?

  6. Just as gay and lesbian people are often transphobic, so too trans people are often homophobic.

  7. @NikkiH lol she’s made “men in dresses” remarks before, so this comes as no particular surprise, shameful as it is.

  8. Stealth and distance are two different things. Ms. Stanton will never be stealth but she can, at least in her mind, distance herself from her past and the transcommunity. A lot of post-transistion women distance themselves from their past by changing all their records and some succeed to a point by not being known or a celebrity, or that their past is not part of their public identity. Their stealth, however, is an illusion, and will always catch up to them. The rest of us don’t have the benefit of either or both.

  9. Does anyone know if Susan Stanton ever apologized for her statements about ‘men in dresses’ and suggesting they leave trans folks behind on ENDA?

  10. As a matter of fact, at last night’s public Commission meeting Susan Stanton denied ever making a statement about men in dresses. She said “That is incorrect”

  11. From an article in 2007:

    “Susan has met hundreds of other people like her. She was among the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people lobbying for a law that would make it illegal for others to discriminate against them.

    But Susan has said all along that she’s not like other transgender people. She feels uncomfortable even looking at some, “like I’m seeing a bunch of men in dresses.”

    Eventually, she decided it was too early for transgender people to be federally protected. People need more time, more education, she says. “The transgender groups boo me, now, when I speak. Isn’t that ironic?

    “But I don’t blame the human rights groups from separating the transgender people from the protected groups. Most Americans aren’t ready for us yet,” Susan says. Transgender people need to be able to prove they’re still viable workers — especially in the mainstream.

    “The biggest issue against the federal legislation is that politicians think the ladies’ rooms will be invaded by guys in drag,” Susan says, “instead of someone like me.” “

  12. “Some of the guys I see…seem so unable to be anything other than just an ugly man with lipstick.” Susan Stanton Documentary “Her name was Steven”

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