Mike Penner, Transsexual Sportwriter, Dead of Apparent Suicide
Mike Penner, the transsexual sportswriter briefly known as "Christine Daniels" is dead.
Mike Penner, the transsexual sportswriter briefly known as “Christine Daniels” is dead, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.
“He was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with,” said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper.
Penner ended up blogging about his transition and later wrote a Times sports blog. In 2008, he began using the “Mike Penner” byline again.
A more detailed obit here.
In an April 2007 post, “LA Times Sportswriter Mike Penner Becoming Christine,” I wrote about my former colleague, Chris Kahrl, another sportswriter who successfully made the transition and was “warmed by the utter nonreaction she’s gotten from baseball and baseball-journalism folks since converting to womanhood.” My guess is that Penner’s issues were personal.
Salon‘s Autumn Sandeen, a friend and colleague, shares this post she wrote in February:
I wrote about Mike/Christine in a blog on February 26. I wrote in part, “Mike was born as a woman he came to know as Christine, but was not able to reconcile the difference between the outward and the inward. So Mike hid Christine until April 2007, when she could remain locked away in him no more. For eighteen months Christine was able to manifest and the soul that is Mike/Christine danced for joy.
“Then, for reasons only she knows, Christine went back to that place where she had lived all those years before. Mike/Christine is not some third gender. I think Mike needs to be able to be whomever he needs to be on the gender continuum each day. Quite simply, I think Mike is not stuck in the rigid duality of our western society. There are many transgender and cisgender people that are very stuck in that duality.”
Having a gender identity different from one’s outward appearance has to be difficult. But the male/female gender divide isn’t a social construct, much less a Western one. Indeed, most of the world’s cultures are far, far less understanding of these issues than ours.