By: Joe Strupp
Los Angeles Times Sportswriter Mike Penner revealed today that he plans to undergo a sex change, returning in several weeks living as a woman. In a column today, the 23-year Times veteran announced the decision, saying he understands some may take time to adjust, but saying he strongly feels it is the right move.
“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,” he wrote. “Today I leave for a few weeks’ vacation, and when I return, I will come back in yet another incarnation. As Christine.”
Penner goes on to say that he is “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,” he adds. “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.”
Penner goes on to explain the physical and psychological aspects of a transsexual change, noting “as extensive therapy and testing have confirmed, my brain was wired female.” He also revealed that when he told his supervisor, Randy Harvey, the editor said “Well, no one can ever say we don’t have diversity on this staff.”