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Moment #58: Christine Daniels comes out as transsexual sportswriter

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Christine Daniels

Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Media 2007: For years, Mike Penner was a fixture in the sports pages of the Los Angeles Times, a gifted, graceful, funny and insightful writer. Then in April 2007, he stunned readers by writing this in a column:

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.

Christine Daniels became a media celebrity and was regularly asked to speak about her transition. The Times started a blog "Woman in Progress" that became quite popular. I saw Christine several times during 2007 in professional and social settings. Christine was often nervous about the sudden fame but said she felt happy and liberated.

Christine disappeared from public life in 2008 and I had no idea what was happening. Then in the fall of 2008 came word that Christine was transitioning back to Mike Penner. I saw him only once after that for about five minutes and he said he didn't want to talk. Sadly, in November 2009, Mike Penner took his life at age 52.

I don't pretend to know much about transitioning, but I do know that Mike/Christine was a special person whom I was glad to know and still miss to this day.

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