L.A. Times Sports Writer Comes Out as Transsexual

L.A. Times sports writer Mike Penner dropped a bombshell in his column today:

Sequinfootball_2“During my 23 years with The Times’ sports department, I have held a wide variety of roles and titles. Tennis writer. Angels beat reporter. Olympics writer. Essayist. Sports media critic. NFL columnist. Recent keeper of the Morning Briefing flame. Today I leave for a few weeks’ vacation, and when I return, I will come back in yet another incarnation…As Christine…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. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them.”

Penner says writing the column is something that took him “more years than I care to count”. We applaud his courage and wish him well on the journey.

Old Mike, new Christine [la times]


  1. anon says

    Unlike being gay, there is no evidence that being transgendered is genetic, and the surgery doesn’t work miracles either. I’ve never lumped it together with gay issues in general. Hopefully she will be happy with the results. Is he married?

  2. sam says

    Kudos to the LA Times for printing the article. Many other papers, maybe most, would have fired him.

  3. says

    I support her in her journey and I admire her courage in discussing this so publicly, but I’m still not gonna spend one second caring about sports.

  4. Scott says

    And, as a sports fan reading the paper, I don’t have any interest in spending one second on the private lives of the writers. Why did this make the paper in the first place–and if they felt it was a compelling story, and should have been written about, what the heck was it doing in the sports section?

  5. RJ says

    Scott, like any other story you don’t find compelling, simply skip over it and don’t read it. As for why it’s in the sports section – well, it’s likely there for those sports readers who might find it compelling. Since s/he probably intends to continue covering sports for the L.A. Times, s/he no doubt felt it important to disclose to the regular readership why the byline will be changing from Mike Penner to Christine Penner.

  6. Scott says

    If that were the case, then why isn’t there a similar story every time they hire someone, fire someone, someone retires, passes away, etc.? The personal lives of the writers aren’t news. If anything, put it on the editorial page, talking about how he’ll be staying on after he becomes a she. I could at least see the relevance there…although I’d still be inclined to skip over it.

  7. peterparker says

    I’m glad that Christine made the decision to be open about who she has always been inside. I’m happy that she wrote about this change because it’s important to educate people about this relatively rare condition. And I think the sports page was exactly the place for Christine to come out to her regular readers…after all, they’d probably wonder why their regular columnist (Mike Penner) had been replaced suddenly by ‘Christine Daniels’.

  8. Ernie says

    Newspaper columnists and essayists often include facets of their personal lives in their writing. I imagine she felt she owed her readers an explanation, and, furthermore, why not take an opportunity as a writer/human being to help diminish ignorance around trans issues? I love that it’s a sports writer (how’s that for breaking through some stereotypes!) and salute her bravery and honesty. Kudos also to the L.A. Times for standing by their woman.

  9. Terri says

    This is to the “Anon” post.

    “Unlike being gay, there is no evidence that being transgendered is genetic, and the surgery doesn’t work miracles either. I’ve never lumped it together with gay issues in general.”

    In fact, there is more scientific evidence that transsexualism is a medical condition (not genetic) due to in utero anomalies than there is that being gay is genetic. As a woman who sought treatment and had medical intervention to correct this horrible birth defect many years ago, I can attest that surgery DOES “work miracles”. I was fairly successful before transition but afterward I became a much more complete human being. I went from being a shy, introverted person to being a vivacious, outgoing woman who embraces life and people with a passion I never knew before; active in my church and in the political arena. You ARE right in one area. I have never lumped it together with “gay issues” either, since they are completely different issues.


    p.s.- Due to the widespread negative connotation of the term “transsexual” and since true transsexualism is a medical condition, there is a an effort to rename it HBS……. Harry Benjamin Syndrome, for the Doctor responsible for bringing our condition out of the dark ages