Mike Penner (formerly Christine Daniels) Found Dead of Suicide

I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. Mike Penner, a sportswriter for the Los Angles Times, made news two years ago, when he announced that he was transitioning to female and would thus be known as Christine. By all accounts, Christine was pretty happy and was widely accepted in the newsroom. For reasons that never became clear, he quietly stopped transition and returned to being called Mike. This morning, his body was found in his home of an apparent suicide.

I'm not here to judge Mike or Christine but I certainly know the pain he was surely feeling. Transition is an incredibly difficult thing, doing it so publicly even more so, and for some reason, it just didn't work out. Unfortunately, suicide is a common thing among the trans community as so many of us find that life is difficult no matter which gender we end up living in. I know that I often thought of suicide and while I'm glad I didn't, there were certainly moments when I wanted nothing more than to be dead and free of the pain.

Until society is ready to accept us, one look at the reader comments suggests they aren't, it will always be a difficult life. I've been fortunate in that most things have gone well for me, but it's still a very tough life and I'd give anything not to have been forced to live it. I hope Penner has found the peace he has so long looked for but lets make no mistake about it, suicide is never the answer.

What I'm Thankful For

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for...

1. The memories I have of my Father who passed away one month ago today.
2. That I will be spending Thanksgiving with my loving Mother, my brother Jeff and cousin Amy.
3. My three dogs, all of whom I love more than I could ever express. They love me back equally as much.
4. The fact that I own my own home.
5. For a wonderful education. Having both a college degree and a Masters degree places me in the minority.
6. For a job that I love. I teach at an inner city school where everything is more difficult and I wouldn't have it any other way.
7. For 10 students that I simply adore and love with all my heart.
8. For Deeanna and Cheryl, for without them, I could not do my job.
9. For my coworkers who have accepted me for who I am and never really gave any of it a second thought.
10. For my friends who I would do anything for. They are kind beyond belief.
11. For having taken the big step six years ago and beginning what seems to be a never ending transition.
12. For the fact that I live in a blue city, even if it is in a red state.
13. That Barack Obama, despite his faults, is President and not John McCain or George Bush.
14. For winter and the prospect of a snowy winter, something we don't get enough of around here.
15. For electric blankets and my 3 dogs that keep me warm on these cold winter nights.
16. For another winning season for University of Kentucky football.
17. For what looks to be a rather promising basketball season for the University of Kentucky.
18. For a life less ordinary: I've lived in 8 states, been to 3 countries, spent my 20's living life to the fullest, four wonderful years of living life as a ski bum, untold adventures while lost in the woods, road trips that are memorable, vacations that were fun, books that were great and my fair share of crazy hot girlfriends.
19. That I'm a Mac and not a PC.
20. That my car will be paid off in just 3 months.
21. That I live in a country where clean water comes out of the tap, the grocery stores are always well stocked, the electricity works when I turn on the switch and I don't have to worry about many of the things that the majority of the World's population has to worry about.
22. That I'm still aware that others don't live as well as I do. I wish I could do more to change the fact that others don't live as well as I do.
23. For the fact that Lost will be back on February 2.
24. For trivial little things that make me feel like a girly girl: Sexy bras, slutty panties, pink toenails, sweet perfume, black boots, wool skirts, mary janes, bubble baths, smooth legs and Kate Spade knockoff purses.
25. For simply being alive. So many things could have happened that didn't and because of that, I was born and today I am unique and alive.

Know Thy Enemy

For those of us who live in "Fly Over Country", we kind of get tired of hearing about what hicks and idiots we are. This is especially so when it comes to the LGBT crowd, specifically those who live on one of the coasts. They take for granted what they have and don't understand how hard those of us in other parts of the country are working to ensure that all citizens can live a life free of harassment. Our so called friend in the GLBT community are often our biggest enemies. Fuck them. To see what I'm talking about, read the comments here.

I Need To Check Out

I need to quit reading the blogs, watching the news, glancing at the papers and figure out a way to just check out for awhile. Everywhere I look, it's all falling apart, bit by bit and it's only a matter of time till the population at large figures it all out. Life at the end of an empire is both exciting and scary. We are so on the downward spiral and we seem determined to take the whole world down with us. Of course it's not just us, the world is a pretty shitty place right now, but hey, we've been living the high life in this country for way too long and it just isn't sustainable.

For those of us who are paying attention, and I think most of you are, it has the potential to get way depressing and it's times like this that I need to check out and clear my mind of all that's happening around us. I'm trying not to be pessimistic here but if your eyes are open and you've been slightly paying attention for the past decade or so, well, there just isn't much reason for optimism. Just saying.

Back Home

I got back Saturday night and tomorrow I'll be returning to work. This past week was without a doubt, the worst of my life. I've never had to do something so difficult and yet it all seems like a blur. While it's nice to be home, it was nonetheless comforting to be around so many people that obviously loved and cared for my Father. Though Dad and I never really saw the world the same, we often clashed, we still loved each other very much and losing him has closed another chapter in my life. Beginning tomorrow, I'll start trying to live again and somehow get on with this thing we call life.