The Blog Squad

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Double Switch

To use a baseball term, Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner has pulled off the double switch.

Penner wrote an inspirational column 18 months ago about how he was going on vacation as Mike and returning as Christine Daniels.

“I am a transsexual sportswriter,” he revealed. “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.”

Indeed, many were surprised, and intrigued. His revelation became one of the most read LA Times pieces in 2007. He found support from his editors and the staff as he bravely embarked on his new life. Though not publicly stated, Penner must have received some level of understanding from his wife, fellow sportswriter Lisa Dillman.

“This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship,” Penner wrote.

For the past 18 months, Daniels has written a blog “Woman in Progress” at Then inexplicably, the site was removed on Oct. 21.

LA Observed broke the news and quoted Sports Editor Randy Harvey: “We’re looking forward to Mike’s byline appearing in the paper and on the website with increased frequency. He continues to be a valued member of our sports staff.”

Not to state the obvious, but Harvey used “Mike” and “he” to describe his sportswriter. Not “Christine” and “she.” This leads one to wonder, what happened to change this woman’s mind?

Penner has yet to divulge, and the feeling is there might never be an explanation. He was so forthcoming when he came out, yet this switch, if it’s permanent, seems much different. Much more personal. Much more painful.

Is coming out of the closet easier than going back in?

I would love to hear from those who have experienced and wrestled with similar feelings. Is there a sense of failure? Is there a trust issue with the awareness of one’s self? Is there embarrassment? Did he encounter more hate and pressure with his transition than he expected? All of the above and more?

OUT AT HOME: The daughter is developing an imagination. She told me the other day that she was holding a pretend snowball. I guess because it’s getting cold outside. I asked her what color. “Yellow!” she said. Yikes. I told her she never wants to hold a yellow snowball. “Brown!” Um, no. I told her she never wants to hold a brown snowball either. “Blue!” I told her it was fine to hold blue snowballs.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: A student kicks a field goal during halftime and wins free rent for a year. The coach takes notice and invites him to join the team. Now the student may be the kicker for the No. 6 team in the nation.


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