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Born Into the Wrong Body

Aired March 12, 2010 - 21:00   ET


JEFF PROBST, GUEST HOST: Tonight, he was a man's man who had it all.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to vote it down.

STANTON: A wife that loved me and a son that I adored.




PROBST: He risked everything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Jesus was here tonight -- and I'm very familiar with the bible -- I'll guarantee you, he'd want him terminated.


PROBST: Including the love of a child.


TRAVIS STANTON: My dad was just very manly.


PROBST: Doing what he had to, transforming himself into a woman.


STANTON: I myself, I'm looking forward, at the end of the day, to putting on my tennis dress.


PROBST: We previewed Steven Stanton's incredible story of torment.


STANTON: But you feel that the outside doesn't match the inside in a very real way that is not easily understood.


PROBST: Courage and change.


PROBST: Susan Stanton is here, next on LARRY PROBST LIVE.

Good evening.

I'm Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry tonight.

Susan Stanton was born Steven Stanton. He was a husband, a father and 14 year city manager of Largo, Florida. In February of 2007, it was revealed that Steven was pursuing gender reassignment.

The CNN Presents documentary, "Her Name Was Steven," follows Susan's emotional and physical transformation. It debuts on CNN Saturday, March 13th, at 8:00 p.m. And re-airs at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

We welcome Susan Stanton to LARRY PROBST LIVE.

Susan, thanks for being with us.

STANTON: Hey, hello. Good to be here.

PROBST: When -- when did you first realize that, as you say, the outside did not match what was going on in the inside -- on the inside?

STANTON: You know, I don't think -- I don't think there was ever a time in my life that I didn't realize that there was a -- there was a dissonance between the spirit and the body. So ever since I was a -- a small kid.

STANTON: In the documentary, you talked about writing in a journal, even as, like a 4- or 5-year-old, saying something that you knew something just wasn't quite right.

Do you remember that time?

STANTON: Yes, I do. You know, the -- the thing that the journal gave me was a place where I could share those thoughts in a very secure, private and a protected area, because at that very early age, as I talked about in the documentary, you just kind of know that those thoughts are things you shouldn't be talking about, expressing or letting somebody find out.

PROBST: So you were aware that it was not right, in some sense, and you -- you had to choose to keep this quiet. Did you feel like you were two people?

STANTON: You know, I never did feel like I was two people. But I knew that there was two pieces. I always thought there was one -- one persona, but that there were two elements of who I was but -- but I always felt, you know, you could be alone, but not necessarily, you know, lonely.

But I hear a lot of people talk about they always thought they were in the wrong body, per se. I never always felt that, that -- that -- that physical dissonance, just that there was something deep inside of me that -- that didn't -- that didn't make a whole lot of sense as a small child.

PROBST: Well, Susan has kept journals nearly all her life. She shares some of them in "Her Name Was Steven".

Here's some insight into the childhood gender struggle she's talking about.


STANTON: I got out of my grungy clothes and placed my dirty little body in the steaming hot water. I lathered my legs, arms and chest with a thick coat of white silk. I looked at my body floating in the water and imagined dreamed I was a beautiful nurse. My legs looked so pretty and my arms so feminine. But I knew this was wrong. I was a boy, not a girl.


PROBST: Pretty powerful stuff. Susan, were there other signs, as well, some of the maybe obvious or maybe even stereotypical?

Were you into trucks and cars or were you into dolls?

Were there those kinds of signs?

STANTON: Yes, no. Everybody always assumes that, you know, that you may have those issues. No, I always liked playing with trucks and dirt. And even as a city manager, I very much enjoyed the physicality of that type of -- type of work. But, no, I was never one to play with dolls per se, but I was just a normal little -- little kid growing up.

PROBST: Do you remember the first time that the idea of that maybe women's clothing was something you connected with?

Were you -- were you young or was it later when you were an adult?

STANTON: Probably when -- probably the first time I can remember ever thinking about that was watching David Suskind's show out of New York. And it was the first time I had actually saw somebody talk about men wanting to wear women's clothing. And it struck me as -- as something that, jeez, I wonder if they do that because they -- they feel what I used to feel as a -- as a -- as a small child.

PROBST: Were you able to...

STANTON: That's the first time it ever occurred to me.

PROBST: Were you able to talk to your parents at all about this, hint, throw it out as an idea?

STANTON: No, absolutely not. No. This is still something -- well, my mom died. And she, I think, toward the latter end of her life, she used to always come up to me and say, is there something wrong?

Talk to me.

What's -- what's going on?

Talk to me.

Are you sure you're OK?

Are you sure you're OK?

So I suspect that she definitely was relating to -- to something, even though I was trying to suppress it at that point. I have never discussed this with my dad to this day. We don't talk about it.

PROBST: To this day, you have not discussed -- even though you have now been through the entire surgery?

STANTON: Yes. I talked to my dad about this for about five minutes prior to the -- prior to the new trucks rolling in at city hall. And we have never discussed it since and I've not actually even seen him since -- since this whole thing began.

But we, you know, I love him a lot and I know he loves me. And he still relates to Steven on the telephone. And -- and that's OK. We're close, but we -- we do it telephonically.

PROBST: Well, it's certainly a major loss. And we are going to talk later in the show about the other losses that this transformation cost you.

Up next, though, Susan was a husband. And we're going to talk about the impact on his former wife next.

As we go to break, here's another look at "Her Name Was Steven".


STANTON: I met Donna. She was outgoing. She was gregarious. She was beautiful. She was nurturing. And she was looking for somebody who was normal, as -- as I was, as well.




D. STANTON: Every evening, we would come home and run five or six miles together, eat dinner together and talk about our days. We played tennis on the weekends or swam in the pool. We drank wine in the hot tub at night. We took romantic vacations together. We bought a house and had a baby. We had it all.


PROBST: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry tonight.

That is the voice of Susan Stanton's ex-wife, Donna.

Donna is part of CNN presents, "Her Name Was Steven".

We are talking to Susan about what her life was like as a man and her role as a former husband.

How did you meet your ex-wife, Donna?

STANTON: Donna and I met and a health club doing aerobics. And I was always the -- she called me the cute young boy in the front row.

PROBST: How old were you at that time?

STANTON: I was 29, 29.

PROBST: Now, at the time, Susan, living as a man, were you sexually attracted and romantically attracted to Donna?

STANTON: Yes, I was. But in the same sense, you know, I had never had sexual relations, even at that age. So it was the first time I actually felt comfortable to expose the fact that I had no experience as a sexual person. And she was a much more nurturing and understanding person than I'd ever met before. And we started out as platonic friends and one night after dancing in a health club, the magic begun. And it was a -- it was 17 years of -- of a good life.

PROBST: And you say the magic began. The idea of that, once you guys were romantic together and started having a sexual relationship, did your desire or thoughts of being a woman, did that go away?

STANTON: Yes, it did. It did. And I always thought, like a lot of trans people sometimes do, that if I -- if I could just kind of find the right person, if I could fall in love and maybe become much more of a sexual person that, in fact, I would be able to put this behind me and for about seven or so years, it -- it did go away. And I remember feeling really good over the fact of celebrating my normalcy, that -- finally finding the right person kind of cured me of my -- my internal -- my internal struggle.

PROBST: Was it a sense of relief? I don't have to deal with this anymore, now everything is going to be, OK.

STANTON: Oh, absolutely. When -- when we had gotten married -- or prior to getting married, one of the most important things I -- I had to do -- and this is something very cyclical that a lot of trans people do -- and that was to get rid of all of my -- of all my women's clothing at the time.. And it felt so good to throw that stuff in the dumpster and to be done with it, to be able to say I am now a normal kind of a person. It's behind me. I'm cured. I've got a wife that loves me, someone I love. And now it's time to -- to start the world as -- as everybody else does.

PROBST: And then after seven years, one day, the idea of Susan comes back. And now you're confronted, I'm in this marriage and I can't deny this.

STANTON: Yes. I woke up one day and -- and -- Susan used to come back to me in my dreams, in -- in -- in the nighttime. And -- and for seven years, Susan had disappeared. And it felt really safe that -- that it was gone. And all of a sudden, you know, she was back.

When I was in college, I spent a lot of time, when I wasn't preparing for, you know, academic studies, doing a lot of research in this area, more from the clinical side, but just a tremendous amount of -- of research in our -- at the library of the University of Florida. And -- and when it came back that the -- the need to start getting information became that much more important to me.

PROBST: Well, and one thing you did that was impressive, instead of running, you shared with your wife your desire to start dressing as a woman.

Here is a clip from "Her Name Was Steven".

Donna Stanton recalls how her husband told her he wanted to be a woman full-time.


D. STANTON: In March 2005, after nearly 15 years of marriage, Steve told me that he had come to the realization that he needed to live the rest of his life as a woman. The secret to which I had given up the essence of who I was to protect would be revealed. We would give Travis two more years of having mom and dad together, taking family vacations, getting through middle school -- a two year extension on a happy childhood.


PROBST: What's the status with Donna today, Susan?

STANTON: Donna is my best friend. You know, we're not married. I -- I still wear the wedding band, even though we're not married, because I still -- we're still connected. We have shared the joy of -- of a son. And we are the best of friends.

Donna and I will always be really good friends, I'm sure, for the rest of our lives. And -- and I talk to her at least once every -- every other week or so. And -- and she's just a very important person to me.

PROBST: Well, it wasn't Steven's choice to reveal to everyone his plans to change to Susan. The shocking way in which his personal life was made public is next.

Be right back.



STANTON: The obligation of city manager is to demonstrate that I can continue to do the job, that the fact that my gender is -- is shifting doesn't impact my knowledge, skills and abilities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want the City of Largo to be the poster child for bigotry and discrimination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Jesus was here tonight, I'll guarantee you, he'd want him terminated.


PROBST: Well, it has to be more than difficult admitting to just yourself that you may have been born into the wrong body. Imagine others knowing it and holding it against you. That's what happened to Susan Stanton, who used to be Steven.

Her incredible story is this of this weekend's CNN Presents: Her Name Was Steven".

We are talking with Susan right now.

Susan -- excuse me, Susan, when -- when you decided to come out, you weren't -- you weren't planning to come out when you did.

A reporter found out and told you they were going to leak the story?

STANTON: Yes, that's true. I had -- I had actually begun, as I do most things, with a lot of research, trying to develop what I call a transition plan, because I knew this was going to be very difficult. I knew that having a person in a very visible leadership position was going to present many different challenges than most employers and certainly employees have to deal with when they come out in the workplace.

So, yes, I developed a plan...

PROBST: But that plan -- and that plan got interrupted when somebody came to you and said I already know. STANTON: Yes, it did. The newspaper found out. And they confronted me with it. And -- and they had a lot of detail. Where they got that information from, I -- I don't know and I probably never will. But it certainly changed the timeline very significantly.

PROBST: We have another clip from "Her Name Was Steven." This is how Steven Stanton came to be fired by the City of Largo after 14 years as the city manager.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got a tip from a fellow reporter. He told me it was about the city manager, that he planned to become a woman. All the commissioners knew.

STANTON: When she said, we heard you're making an announcement, I kind of -- what announcement?

And, well, we understand that you're planning on changing your gender. I mean it was -- it just -- it was a soundtrack -- Houston, we've got a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't let abnormals influence your vote. The man is sick and needs help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner Ardsen (ph)?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner Gentry (ph)?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Motion carries 5 percent.


PROBST: Losing your job -- that moment had to be devastating for you. You had a long and successful career.

STANTON: Yes, it was. It was devastating. But I also, you know, this is not an easy thing for any employer to have to deal with. And -- and my city was superb. We did not discriminate prior to that. And some of the issues that -- that were wrapped up with the city manager were not representative of -- of my former employers' previous employment practices nor their current practices.

But it definitely showed how difficult this is when someone in a leadership position like myself, with so much misunderstanding, still today, that's associated with this condition brings it forward in a very visible way without a lot of preparation. And -- and it was difficult for Largo, as it would be with any community to have to deal with.

PROBST: Well, Susan, your decision not to sue Largo, which you announced here on LARRY KING LIVE in April of 2007, angered many in the community and was really the impetus for this whole documentary.

Has that all settled?

STANTON: To -- to a certain extent, it has. You know, I was never -- prior to my own, I guess, journey, I never even met a -- I only met one or two transsexual people in my life. So I was never very much, pay the participative -- participated in the transgender community and was, in that sense, not the best spokesperson, because I didn't know enough to really be -- be able to have an educated opinion on most of those gender-related issues.

So for the most part, for the last two years, I have gone back living my own life as a city manager. And there are others in the trans community who are far more articulate and knowledgeable about this than -- than I ever will be.

PROBST: The impact on a child -- what does Susan's son think about his dad?

That is ahead. "Her Name Was Steven" debuts this weekend on CNN Presents.


T. STANTON: My dad said he had feelings, that he was in a guy's body, but when he was born that he was like a girl. And I was really shocked. But then I was just like, you know, I kind of got over it. I don't know how, but I got over it.




T. STANTON: My dad was just very manly. We would always watch football games and when I was little, he used to -- when our team would got a touchdown, he'd throw me up. And one day he threw me up and hit my head on the wall.

STANTON: And your day was all right?



PROBST: We are back chronicling the story of Susan Stanton, how and why she became a woman after living most of her life as a man.

Joining us is Susan's friend, Linda Weininger, someone who helped Susan with part of her physical transformation. It is a change that certainly affected Susan's son, Travis, as we just saw. What was Travis' initial reaction, Susan, when you first told him?

STANTON: Travis was -- was totally stunned. I mean this is not something that most fathers share with their -- with their sons.

PROBST: And was he accepting of it?

As -- after he got over being stunned and he warmed to the idea, how -- how did he take to it?

STANTON: Yes, he did. He ultimately came to my study and wanted to see what -- what Susan looked like. And when he did, he -- I remember him saying, wow, it doesn't -- it doesn't look like you. You're kind of -- kind of pretty, actually.

PROBST: Is he -- did he go through any counseling?

STANTON: Yes, we did. We did definitely put him -- gave him that opportunity. But he was a very well adjusted kid. His mom helped him through a lot of this, as well. We tried to emphasize that he's still going to have a dad no matter what -- what the outside looked like. And he had a little bit, but not a lot.

PROBST: Take a look at a little more of Susan and her son Travis from "Her Name Was Steven".


STANTON: You hit the board. That's good.

T. STANTON: He was a very manly kind of guy. I was going to think he was going to have trouble, you know, being all feminine and dressing all pretty and everything. But he looked fine.

STANTON: Whoa. Good shot. All right.

T. STANTON: I wrote "Dinky" because that's what I call him now, Dinky. "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 people say. Your son, Travis."


PROBST: It's got to make -- it's got to make you feel great, Susan, to hear him say I'll call you dad no matter what you look like.

STANTON: Oh, absolutely. And he's -- he'll always call me dad. And that, I think, was the most important point in this whole documentary, that the relationship between the father and the son will never change and was never impacted by any of this stuff.

PROBST: Now, you also developed another friendship during this process -- Linda, sitting with you. Linda, you were Susan's electrolysis technician.

What was your first reaction or take when Steven came in to you and -- and really began the beginning of this process?

LINDA WEININGER, SUSAN'S CLOSE FRIEND: Well, I didn't really think too much of it because, actually, Susan is just another client, just like all my other clients are. You know, you do them one just like you do all the others.

PROBST: When did you go from technician to friend?

Do you remember that transition happening?

WEININGER: Well, it was kind of funny because I told Susan, I said, you know, if I'm going to be treating you, we're going to become best friends. And in time, that happened exactly how I thought. And it's still that way today.

PROBST: And you also, as this process went on, you began to help with clothes shopping and makeup and things like that.

Could you see, step by step, this slow transformation starting to take place?

WEININGER: Absolutely. Absolutely. It was actually...

PROBST: How important -- yes?

WEININGER: It was actually a good -- it was kind of nice just to see it happen from -- by step by step. But -- and seeing her change as she went on.

PROBST: Susan, for you, how important was it to have a confidante in Linda, somebody who was going through this with you?

STANTON: It was critical. At the time I was going through this, my wife was being traumatized, Linda - Linda was my support system at one point. She was the person that I cried to, and she was the one who said you're strong enough to do this and you, you're family, and we will get through this.

PROBST: And what we're looking at some of the video now of the electrolysis. It looks like a fun and painful process. I have a whole new respect for them.

All right up next, we will be joined by a sex reassignment doctor. That's coming up.


STANTON: What does it feel like the first time you reach down and your penis is gone? What is that going to feel like?



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STANTON: I thought I should have done something last night to celebrate still having my little bitty baby penis, but I didn't, other than hold it a couple hours, but no, it just -- it's been a long process. What liberates me is coming out it further extends the people I love, and hopefully we'll all be able to go on from here and resume our lives.


PROBST: That was a brief excerpt from "CNN presents: Her Name was Steven." premiers tomorrow in CNN at 8:00 eastern, the subject of this incredible documentary, Susan Stanton is with us, we're also joined here in Los Angeles by a doctor Gary Alter a plastic surgeon and neurologist specializing in sexual reassignment surgery. Susan I was watching you watch the video of that day, the point of no return day. What do you remember about that? Were you excited or nervous or both?

STANTON: I was both, yeah. Yes, the thought of, geez, after this whole lifetime of struggle and doubt is now just about done. So yeah, I was excited.

PROBST: How do you pay for this? This whole transformation is not cheap. Is any of this covered by insurance?

STANTON: No, it is not, although -- no, currently it is not. It's actually in the past been deemed to be cosmetic surgery, although the IRS regulations may be changing regarding whether you can say this is a medical necessity.

PROBST: Anybody there with you that day of the surgery?

STANTON: Just the CNN crew, so just the CNN crew.

PROBST: Well you have really gone this alone.

STANTON: Yes and I knew I would, because maybe almost parenthetically and paradoxically, the fact that I did this in such a public way I needed the space.

PROBST: Right.

STANTON: And that's - I think partially why I did it privately.

PROBST: Doctor Alter, what about the surgery? Is it complicated?

DR. GARY ALTER, SPECIALIST IN SEX REASSIGNMENT SURGERY: Well it is complicated, but if a doctor does a lot of them, it's not a big deal. The way the vagina is made is to make a space between the rectum and the bladder, and that space is filled with skin from the penis and also with skin from the scrotum sack. The clitoris is made out of the small portion of the head of the penis with all the nerves attached, because those are homologous, those are the same thing as a normal clitoris. -

PROBST: So in other words, it -- these parts work. When you're finished with the surgery, she is a functioning woman.

ALTER: That's absolutely right. There is good vaginal depth, good sensation of a clitoris most patients have orgasms. Lot of men who are really not that good with female anatomy don't even know that the woman have had the surgery.

PROBST: How many of these surgeries are done like this in the U.S. per year, how common is this?

ALTER: I don't know that anybody knows for sure. Probably hundreds are done in the U.S. there are many Americans that go out of the country because of the cost, so they have it done overseas.

PROBST: Is this any more dangerous -- all surgery is risky -- any more dangerous than any other surgery?

ALTER: It's a fairly long surgery. I don't think it's more dangerous than any surgery if it's done by a doctor that knows what he's doing, it's not.

PROBST: Well a few minutes ago, you saw Susan pre-op. Here is Susan post-op.


ALTER: Everything went just as planned. There were no surprises for you.

STANTON: Well, yeah. It hurts down there. I can't feel anything. This really hurts. Oh gosh. Well, it's done. It's done. Amazing.


PROBST: Susan, what impact did this have on how you saw yourself finally as a woman?

STANTON: Oh it had a great effect. You struggle so long having an integrated whole person, and that's really die - and trying to just be authentic and integrated, you don't think about gender anymore and you just go on and live your life like everybody else does, and it's been pretty okay.

PROBST: The psychological preparation. When a man becomes a woman. We will talk about that right after this.


STANTON: I never considered myself homosexual. I've be-- if I've been attracted to men. People use to asked me that a year ago and I said, you know, no. But I don't know now. I don't know.




STANTON: I've joked with other folks that it takes a real man to become a woman, because it's extremely painful. When you're a transsexual, it's kind of like you're bringing something out that's deep within as opposed to cross dressing where you're concealing your masculinity. You are removing a shell and sort of letting what's there, come out.


PROBST: Susan Stanton used to be Steven. We're talking about his life as a female, he was born male. Susan's psychologist Dr. Kathleen Farrell joins us, has been working with Susan for three years. Susan, more courage to come out and go through this process to be Susan than it would have been to continue living as Steven?

STANTON: Oh absolutely, yes. The internal torment gets - it's - gets to be very devastating. Absolutely.

PROBST: Kathleen, there has been a couple times that we've talked about or seen in the clips that Susan went through this virtually alone. Is that common?

KATHLEEN FARRELL, PH.D., GENDER THERAPIST: It is. A lot of family abandons individuals when they go through this kind of transition, and depression is very common, and we see -- I think that also there is that concomitant post-traumatic stress that happens as a result of having lost your family and sometimes even losing your job and your livelihood. It's very traumatic, a very traumatic thing that these individuals go through.

PROBST: Being a woman can be a lot of work as Susan reflected on during the making of "Her Name Was Steven." take a look at this.


STANTON: I'm in transition, struggling to do it seamlessly. The most terrifying part of the day is the morning when you have to fight the hair. I want the hair to be perfect, I want the nails to be perfect, the whole selection of clothing, the way you do the makeup and the type of shoes that you wear, everything is so totally different. It's a little bit more complicated than I initially envisioned, but as fulfilling as I thought it would be.


PROBST: I want to go back to the struggle with this. Ever consider suicide? You reference it a couple times in the documentary, Susan.

STANTON: None until I began the journey, then yeah, it was an active consideration. Yes, it was. Absolutely, absolutely.

PROBST: Kathleen, is that common?

FARRELL: It's not uncommon. It is a thing that comes up frequently with the individuals that I see, absolutely.

PROBST: Susan, are you dating?

STANTON: No, only because I've started a new job, and you know, I'm putting in 15-hour days, so I don't have my tongue tied, I don't have the energy at this point.

PROBST: Do hormones -- I know from the documentary you started taking hormones before the surgery. Do hormones have any impact on who you find attractive, which sex?

STANTON: Yes, I don't think hormones do per se. No, I don't know -- at least not for me, no. I don't know what dr. Farrell would say as a clinician.

FARRELL: I think that hormones do affect us. We know going through puberty that you know men become very attractive to women and vice versa, and so when you reverse those hormones, absolutely, you sometimes do find a reversal in transgendered individuals as far as their sexual attraction.

PROBST: Well, it is a brave, new world for Susan and there is more to it than just changing sexes. That's next.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on 360, the top of the hour, keeping them honest investigation into the illegal activities, and frankly astonishing power wielded by the largest drug company in the world. It's a report that raises serious questions about what the government is doing to keep the industry honest and us safe.

Plus she was American's sweetheart, Chastity Bono, daughter of Sonny and Cher. That was then, this is now. Chastity is now Chaz. One year into a gender transition, his journey. Part two of our exclusive interview. All that and more at the top of the hour, 360, but "Larry King Live" continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it is now hereby ordered that the petitioner's present name, Steven Bruce Stanton is changed to Susan Ashley Stanton, by which the petitioner shall hereafter be known. And Ms. Stanton, congratulations and I wish you the very best going forward.

STANTON: Thank you, your honor.

PROBST: We're back with Susan Stanton and her therapist, Dr. Kathleen Farrell. Susan, the surgery's complete. Are you now legally a woman?

STANTON: Yes. I sure am. Yes. Yes.

PROBST: And I hinted at this earlier. And I wasn't very clear. Are you attracted to men or to women? STANTON: You know I get that question a lot. You know, I don't know just yet. That's something I haven't explored. I don't know. I don't know.

PROBST: Fair enough answer. Doctor, who is the population, the percentage of the population that is transgendered?

FARRELL: Well, unfortunately we don't have a real good handle on that because a lot of individuals who transition actually do not want to be thought of as transgendered or as having been previously a different gender and so we really cannot get a good idea of what the population is. Although there was different -- this is on a different network, but ABC had quoted about three months ago that 1 in 500 are differently gendered.

PROBST: Susan, you got -- you lost your job. I'm going back now. You lost your job which you'd had for over a decade. Were turned down for 300 jobs. Is that correct?

STANTON: About that. Could be more or less. It's about that. That's correct.

PROBST: And in most cases did people know your story? Do you think that's part of the reason you didn't get the job?

STANTON: Yes. I think that's more -- it wasn't I think as much the transgender as much the publicity, you know, when people used to Google my name or worse yet, having some of the camera crews show up when I was doing the interview for the job was always a challenge most people didn't have to face when they were looking for work.

PROBST: But now you landed a job. Tell me about that.

STANTON: Yes. I work in the city of Lakeworth, Florida, in Palm Beach County. It is a very progressive, open, very enduring, enduring community. So it's been fantastic and I've been there for almost a year and I'm loving every day of it and we're doing good things for each other.

PROBST: And your relationship with your wife. We talked about the fact that you guys are best friends. And maybe this was me reading into it. Do you ever wish that you could be back together as a couple?

STANTON: Well, yes and no. I mean, Donna needs to go find her way. I'm going to be finding mine. And I don't even look at it that way. She's a friend. She's the mother of my child. And she's always going to be in my life.

PROBST: And Dr. Farrell, one more question for you. Is there a difference, and this maybe an ignorant question on my part, is there a difference or what is the difference between being gay and being transgender?

FARRELL: Well, one is gender and one has to do with sexuality and they are very, very separate issues. PROBST: All right. A fascinating journey you have been on, Susan, and it is a fascinating interview to be sitting here with you. Was it all worth it? That is the question we will talk about when we come back, "Larry King Live" right after this.


PROBST: You're watching "Larry King Live," I'm Jeff Probst. Susan Stanton is our guest. We have spent the hour talking about her transformation from men to woman. Do you regret the years, Susan, that you spent at Steven?

STANTON: No, I don't. It's part of who I am and, no, not at all. It makes me a total person.

PROBST: We've talked a lot about the struggle. All the hardships, all the loss. The positive side. What have you gained through this whole journey?

STANTON: I gained to be an authentic, real, healthy, engaged, enthusiastic person that I can now live life like everybody else does and it has been worth it. It's been extremely difficult, but absolutely it has been worth it.

PROBST: Anything surprise you? Obviously all of these steps in the physical transformation, but was there anything looking back on it that maybe was easier than you thought it would have been?

STANTON: Probably the physical change has been the easier. The more difficult has been just how women are treated. Especially women in leadership positions in the workplace. That's been fascinating and something I'm still learning to -- learning to accept.

PROBST: So what have you noticed about that? You're right. It's a very interesting and rare opportunity to do the same job you did as a man now as a woman. What do you notice about how you're treated?

STANTON: Yes. Men have a sense of deference and privilege that they typically aren't even aware of. Women do not. Women have to fight for their right to sit at the table and have to be much more assertive than men and deferential. And I'm learning not to do those things but still they're present in the relationship.

PROBST: What advice would you give to somebody who was you before this transformation? They're in their world of being a Steven that want to become a Susan. What do you say?

STANTON: I think it's extremely important to surround yourself with professionals, the standard of care. This is very much a medical as much as a psychological issue. And people shouldn't try to do it unless they have those support networks. This is not easy. It can be done but it has to be done with a lot of assistance with people that are knowledge and professional in this area.

PROBST: For people who, and probably the majority of people that are watching this and are going to watch your documentary, it's a very foreign world. And from the outside looking in it would seem maybe more uncomfortable for you now, but tell me about the opposite of that. That how it is that you now feel complete and feel like the person you are always meant to be?

STANTON: Yes. Just I guess the feeling of normalcy. When you're living a life of two genders and when that goes away you just can focus on the healthy aspects of enjoying life. Just like everybody else does. And when that - when that internal torment is off, it's like having a lot of noise turned off. It's really, it's a great experience.

PROBST: Do you consider yourself a pioneer, Susan?

STANTON: No. Not at all. There's been many people that have gone before me. I had so many more privileges than everybody else has had when they attempt to do this. I've received blessings and advantages most people in the transgender community don't have. So, no, not at all. Not at all.

PROBST: Well, I have to say, I've seen the documentary. I found it fascinating. I consider you certainly one in a list of pioneers. I think you're very brave in sharing this and really appreciate you being on tonight.

STANTON: Thank you, Jeff.

PROBST: All right CNN presents "Her Name Was Steven." it debuts tomorrow Saturday March 13th at 8:00 and airs again at 11:00 p.m. eastern time now for Anderson Cooper in AC 360.