Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Woman He Was: The Tragic Death of Transgender Sportswriter Mike Penner Brought Attention to the Little-Understood Phenomenon of Detransitioning

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Woman He Was: The Tragic Death of Transgender Sportswriter Mike Penner Brought Attention to the Little-Understood Phenomenon of Detransitioning

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

TRANSGENDER WRITER Autumn Sandeen fondly remembers meeting Christine Daniels at an LGBT journalists' convention in 2007. "[Christine] was out as transgender for a few months, but she looked like she had been out for years," Sandeen says. "At the time I was about 125 pounds heavier than I am now and jealous of how great she looked."

Only months before, the woman Sandeen was introduced to as Christine had been known by hundreds of thousands of sports fans as Los Angeles Times sports columnist Mike Penner, who in April 2007 announced in a column, "I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words."

Penner became Christine Daniels in a very public way. Daniels continued to write for the paper--and for one of its blogs, called Woman in Progress--about transgender issues. But the resulting national spotlight may have been too much to bear. In late October 2008, Penner quietly resumed his original byline. He arrived to work as Mike, not Christine. Thirteen months later Penner took his own life. …

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