CNN Documentary Depicts Sex Change as a 'Medical Necessity ... Done to Preserve Life'
CNN, which advertised the documentary as being about "one person's struggle to live an authentic life," gave a grand total of 47 seconds to those opposed to sex change. The rest of the two hours was focused on presenting sex change as if it weren't a choice. Stanton called his operation a "medical necessity ... done to preserve life." It was necessary, he said, in order to become "who God meant me to be," to "make my body and my spirit 100 percent compatible."
The documentary depicted those who supported Stanton's sex change as sympathetic and humane while those who disagreed as uneducated, religious bigots. Stanton, for example, said he was "respected in the community" as the city manager until he announced that he was a transsexual. The city council, after holding several public meetings, voted to fire Stanton and, of course, it was painted as discrimination. The mayor, who heavily supported Stanton, admitted that some commissioners on the board gave only performance-related reasons for his termination but, in her eyes, "clearly the underlying reason" was his transsexuality.
A big chunk of the documentary focused on Stanton struggling to be accepted by "general society" after he became "Susan." The camera followed him as he attended voice lessons, got his first mammogram, dressed as a female for the first time at a church brunch (sipping lemonade while cracking jokes about his shrinking genitals), went to therapy for body image issues, and dealt with "sex-segregrated environments," like locker rooms.
"When you lose everything, you do have the feeling of, But why me?" Stanton said as he sat alone on a church bench.
Stanton claimed society's "misunderstanding of what being transgender is" has led him to be suicidal.
"I wonder if there will be a tomorrow," he said. "I used to talk about what I called Option C. Option A was do nothing - stay living encapsulated by the wrong shell. Option B was to go forward and try to be an authentic person and be who God meant me to be. And Option C really acknowledges that Option A nor Option B are viable. Option C would essentially be taking your life."
The issue, he said, is "society's inability to accept people who transition in a very profound way. It is not a lifestyle issue. It's one of medical necessity."
Stanton's wife, Donna, said she "felt only sadness and pity for the people that spoke such harsh words of hatred, anger, and intolerance. I just kept praying, 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.'"
Stanton's 15-year-old son, Travis, called his father's termination an act of "discrimination" and read a letter to the camera that said, "You are the best dad ever. You always make me smile. I love you no matter what you look like and I don't care what other people say."
The psychologist who interviewed Stanton before his sex change didn't discuss why Stanton felt he should be a female instead of a male or the underlying causes that could be triggering it. Instead, she discussed how to handle those who disagreed with him and the increasing publicity surrounding his announcement.
The documentary also closely followed the "deep friendship" between Stanton and his electrolysis doctor, Linda Weininger, who gave Stanton a "shoulder to cry on" and who cried tears of happiness numerous times herself, including once his penis had become a vagina. And then there was the unnamed sex-change doctor who talked as if he were a modern-day hero.
"From their earliest recollection they have identified as the opposite sex, yet they don't have a vagina and so, as a result, they really don't get the same privileges or benefits of being female per se. They don't get the validation of being female until after they have the surgery," he said.
During the entire two-hour documentary, no biologists were interviewed about thephysical consequences of changing sexes. No psychologists were interviewed about the mental and emotional ramifications of having sex change operations, or of being raised by a transgender parent. And the issues of possible adverse societal implications or moral concerns were never addressed.