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Susan Stanton on Larry King tonight to discuss documentary "Her Name Was Steven"



Stevestanton It is an odd thing as a journalist to find yourself given the cold shoulder by someone who let cameras from a world wide cable newschannel film her mammogram and sex change operation.

But Susan Stanton did not return repeated phone calls and emails seeking comment on the documentary CNN created about her metamorphosis from Steven to Susan Stanton -- a film assembled after the newschannel's cameras followed her for two years.

Turns out, there's not much new in Her Name was Steven that regular readers to the St. Petersburg Times wouldn't already know. That’s because Stanton, whose decision to change gender while serving as Largo city manager was revealed by the Times in 2007, has already talked a lot about the process – holding a press conference, appearing on Larry King Live and allowing the newspaper to take some of the first public pictures of him in women’s clothing as he began his transition.

Susan-STANTON_2w(2) A CNN producer said the decision to screen the movie at film festivals across the country delayed scheduling the documentary which airs Saturday and March 14 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

One thing is certain; no matter how many words you’ve read about Stanton, there is something affecting about seeing the former city manager in the flesh, sitting alone with wife, job and friends gone, discussing the possibility of suicide as logically as she might talk about the impact of a 1-percent tax increase.

Stanton even recorded a personal video diary for CNN during its production, talking deeply about the most intimate aspects of her transformation. “What does it feel like, the first time you reach down and your penis is gone?” Stanton told the camera, just after her gender reassignment surgery was done. “I thought it would look odd. The thing I felt, was that it looked right.”

As Stanton’s world fell apart early on, CNN’s cameras often seemed the only confidant left. It is a unique irony that the process of speaking publicly about the transformation, which seemed to both fuel and free Stanton, also hurt people close to him.

“The masculine man that I love is gone,” said ex-wife Donna in the film. She declined to appear on camera, reading prepared answers to questions from CNN, instead. “A woman named Susan has taken his place.”

According to CNN, you can hear how Stanton feels about the film at 9 tonight on Larry King Live. See clips by clicking here or watch the sample below.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:06pm]


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