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Thread: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

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  1. #1
    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    FIRST PERSON
    Old Mike, new Christine
    By Mike Penner, Times Staff Writer
    April 26, 2007


    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.

    That's OK. I understand that I am not the only one in transition as I move from Mike to Christine. Everyone who knows me and my work will be transitioning as well. That will take time. And that's all right. To borrow a piece of well-worn sports parlance, we will take it one day at a time.

    Transsexualism is a complicated and widely misunderstood medical condition. It is a natural occurrence — unusual, no question, but natural.

    Recent studies have shown that such physiological factors as genetics and hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can significantly affect how our brains are "wired" at birth.

    As extensive therapy and testing have confirmed, my brain was wired female.

    A transgender friend provided the best and simplest explanation I have heard: We are born with this, we fight it as long as we can, and in the end it wins.

    I gave it as good a fight as I possibly could. I went more than 40 hard rounds with it. Eventually, though, you realize you are only fighting yourself and your happiness and your mental health — a no-win situation any way you look at it.

    When you reach the point when one gender causes heartache and unbearable discomfort, and the other brings more joy and fulfillment than you ever imagined possible, it shouldn't take two tons of bricks to fall in order to know what to do.

    It didn't with me.

    With me, all it took was 1.99 tons.

    For more years than I care to count, I was scared to death over the prospect of writing a story such as this one. It was the most frightening of all the towering mountains of fear I somehow had to confront and struggle to scale.

    How do you go about sharing your most important truth, one you spent a lifetime trying to keep deeply buried, to a world that has grown familiar and comfortable with your façade?

    To a world whose knowledge of transsexuals usually begins and ends with Jerry Springer's exploitation circus?

    Painfully and reluctantly, I began the coming-out process a few months ago. To my everlasting amazement, friends and colleagues almost universally have been supportive and encouraging, often breaking the tension with good-natured doses of humor.

    When I told my boss Randy Harvey, he leaned back in his chair, looked through his office window to scan the newsroom and mused, "Well, no one can ever say we don't have diversity on this staff."

    When I told Robert, the soccer-loving lad from Wales who cuts my hair, why I wanted to start growing my hair out, he had to take a seat, blink hard a few times and ask, "Does this mean you don't like football anymore, Mike?"

    No, I had to assure him, I still love soccer. I will continue to watch it. I hope to continue to coach it.

    My days of playing in men's over-30 rec leagues, however, could be numbered.

    When I told Eric, who has played sweeper behind my plodding stopper for more than a decade, he brightly suggested, "Well, you're still good for co-ed!"

    I broke the news to Tim by beginning, "Are you familiar with the movie 'Transamerica'?" Tim nodded. "Well, welcome to my life," I said.

    Tim seemed more perplexed than most as I nervously launched into my story.

    Finally, he had to explain, "I thought you said 'Trainspotting.' I thought you were going to tell me you're a heroin addict."

    People have asked if transitioning will affect my writing. And if so, how?

    All I can say at this point is that I am now happier, more focused and more energized when I sit behind a keyboard. The wicked writer's block that used to reach up and torture me at some of the worst possible times imaginable has disappeared.

    My therapist says this is what happens when a transsexual finally "integrates" and the ever-present white noise in the background dissipates.

    That should come as good news to my editors: far fewer blown deadlines.

    So now we all will take a short break between bylines. "Mike Penner" is out, "Christine Daniels" soon will be taking its place.

    From here, it feels like a big improvement. I hope with time you will agree.

    This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-...home-headlines
    Last edited by WMR; 04-27-2007 at 08:42 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    no comment
    THE University of Cincinnati

  3. #3
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Why a different last name? Is [s]he still not the child of his/her parents?

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  4. #4
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    Why a different last name? Is [s]he still not the child of his/her parents?
    Commonly, after undergoing the procedure, the transgendered individual will change both their first and last name as a symbolic/psychological cutting of ties with their previous identity.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
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  5. #5
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Quote Originally Posted by zombie-a-go-go View Post
    Commonly, after undergoing the procedure, the transgendered individual will change both their first and last name as a symbolic/psychological cutting of ties with their previous identity.
    Although Chris Karl from BP just went with Cristina.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

  6. #6
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    Although Chris Karl from BP just went with Cristina.
    You know, when I initially saw the thread title (on another board) that was who I thought of first, and assumed it was just an old necro'd thread.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.

  7. #7
    Waiting for a tour/album KittyDuran's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Quote Originally Posted by zombie-a-go-go View Post
    You know, when I initially saw the thread title (on another board) that was who I thought of first, and assumed it was just an old necro'd thread.
    I thought that as well... of course I thought Chris was short for Christina (not a far stretch when I'm a female baseball fan).
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  8. #8
    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    If the dude wants to be a lady, then let the dude be a lady.
    No big deal.

  9. #9
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Presents an interesting angle in the debate as to whether women reporters should be allowed in mens' locker rooms.

    (And vice versa - male reporters in female locker rooms.)

  10. #10
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."



    After making light of the situation, I agree with MrCinatit. No big deal.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

  11. #11
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    I used to work with a transsexual. Although I didn't join that workplace until a few years after she had her reassignment surgery.

    The people I knew who worked there at the time of the change said the biggest challenge wasn't remembering her new name or seeing her use a different restroom. It was remembering to use the correct pronouns.
    /r/reds

  12. #12
    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    For some reason the tune of "Dude looks like a Lady" keeps running through my head while reading this.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

  13. #13
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    Well, the L.A. Times's coverage of the WNBA and LPGA is about to improve dramatically.

    Makes all the routine posts.

  14. #14
    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    You are what you're DNA says you are. Now on to other things...

  15. #15
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: "I Am A Transsexual Sportswriter."

    I applaud him/her for standing up and being honest with the world about who he/she is. That couldn't have been easy.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!


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