Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Transsexual Sportswriter Returns to Work

I wanted to blog about this story because it warms my heart to think of the courage it must have take Christine Michelle Daniels to put her life out into the public eye. I know that sometimes the world can be a cruel place, and I'm sure Daniels knows that all too well. However I think there is hope in this story because much of the coverage speaks loudly to those who have embraced acceptance, tolerance, and diversity.

On April 26, Mike Penner wrote what he thought would be the toughest
article of his career. "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." The piece ran in the Sports
section, next to his regular column.

Responses to the revelation came in three distinct flavors: kudos from
sports fans, effusive thanks from other transsexuals and rants from
bible-thumpers. Readers' initial shock, however, subsided almost

Michael Daniel Penner returned to work on May 23 as Christine
Michelle Daniels. So far, it appears to be smooth sailing. But Daniels' very
public transition has put a spotlight on a culture that is slow to acknowledge,
let alone attempt to rehabilitate its ingrained intolerance and bigotry.

I am not an avid sports fan, but I imagine that coming out with this as a sportswriter might have added challenges. However, Daniels is not the first transsexual to emerge from the world of sports.

In 2003, Chris Kahrl, sportswriter and founding columnist of the annual
Baseball Prospectus, the gold standard for baseball analysis, became Christina.

In 1972, Richard Raskind reached the final of the men's national
35-and-over tennis championships. Three years later, he underwent
sex-reassignment surgery, becoming Renée Richards.

You can read more about Daniels at her Woman in Progress blog.

Regardless of what comes her way, Daniels will do what she does best: churn out 2,000-plus words a day that speak to her readers. For reporter and reader alike, there's not much better than that.

For more information on transsexuals and gender issues, visit the Planned Parenthood website.

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