Mike Penner, a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times for over 20 years, said in his column on Apr 26 that he is a transsexual. In a piece entitled, “Old Mike, New Christine,” he explained that his brain “was wired female,” and he wrote with courage and eloquence about his long-term struggle to embrace his gender.
Penner, who reports that his revelation has made him “happier, more focused and more energized” as a writer, described how he broke the news to his employer, soccer teammates and his barber in the past few months. He even joked about one friend who confused the films Transamerica and Trainspotting and worried that Penner was going to confess a heroin addiction.
When Penner returns to work in a few weeks after a vacation, he will be known as Christine Daniels in life, and byline.
Coming out stories remain rare among the male professional athletes whom Daniels might soon cover as a sportswriter. Retired basketball star John Amaechi, who played for such teams as the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz between 1999 and 2003, recently became the first NBA player to come out as gay. He relays his experiences as a high profile, closeted athlete in his new memoir, Man in the Middle.