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Largo City Manager Steve Stanton wants a sex change.

Stanton told the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday that he is preparing for a sex change operation with hormone therapy and counseling. Stanton plans to remain city manager, a job he’s held for 14 years, despite his rather shocking decision.

Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, who was “at (Stanton’s) side,” told the Times, “He’s a dedicated city manager and puts his job first.”

Stanton’s story isn’t uncommon among those who plan on undergoing sex changes.

Thoughts of becoming a woman had been with him since he was a child. As he grew into adulthood, he started attending clubs, concerts and stores dressed as a woman.

“I’m good at my job,” he told the Times. “My gender doesn’t have anything to do with my capabilities.”

Certainly, however, Stanton is not so na’ve to think that fact will prevent controversy. Indeed, he had planned to be out of the city when his gender change was supposed to have been announced in June. He told the Times, “It’s going to take more courage than anything I’ve ever done.”

Indeed it will. Stanton’s reputation and character will likely be questioned, insulted and challenged. Stanton might, in fact, become one of the most visible cases of transgender surgery (and the psychology behind people who make such decisions) in recent history.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. After disgraced Rep. Mark Foley’s unveiling as a pedophile, it shouldn’t be a surprise to either Floridians or the nation that people, especially politicians, do shocking things. On the scale of shock, Stanton’s actions aren’t even on par with Foley’s: There is, after all, no question about the legality of Stanton’s decision.

Furthermore, Stanton was correct when he said his “gender doesn’t have anything to do with (his) capabilities,” regardless of what people will say in the future. In case Americans have forgotten, the ideals of America entail rewards based on what people do, not who or what they are. That includes people of all ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and, indeed, gender, regardless of whether one was born that gender.

This newspaper wishes Mr. Stanton luck in his coming trials and tribulations, which will certainly be challenging. It would also like to remind Americans that a competent city manager remains competent, even if he decides to change his gender.