LA Times: Sex Ed in the Sports Section

April 26th, 2007 5:22 PM

Sports fans checking the box scores this morning got a lesson in "transsexualism" when they opened the LA Times. Mike Penner, one of the paper's sports writers, announced in his column he is taking a few weeks off. When he returns he’ll be known as Christine Daniels.

The column detailed Penner's 40-year struggle with “transsexualism.” He said that “extensive therapy and testing” show that his brain was “wired female.” He defended the “medical condition” as “widely misunderstood” and a “natural occurrence.”

Penner describeed his coming out process and said he “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 that you ever imagined possible, it shouldn’t’ take two tons of brinks to fall in order to know what to do.”

He detailed the painful and reluctant coming-out process he started a few months ago and said that his friends and colleagues “almost universally have been supportive and encouraging.” He added that he is now “happier, more focused and more energized” when he writes, no longer suffering from “wicked writer’s block.” He shared his therapist’s opinion that such freedom is what comes when transsexuals “integrate.”

While no one can deny that Penner has been through some intense personal struggles, his column read like a brochure from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). One wonders how many young sports fans opened up the paper to find out how their favorite team did and ended up with an unexpected sex-ed lesson.