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.


Lori D | November 28, 2009 at 9:32 PM

So many of us have stood at death's doorstep and come so close. It is events like these that give me further resolve to be a visible trans woman. How could we be silent when our brothers and sisters suffer in their own silence?

JACQ | November 29, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Kelly, I am so saddened by this. At 52, Christine still had so much life ahead of her. I noticed that in the story (from the link) that Christine was still referred to as a he. How horrible a tragedy it was and is for so many trying to work through such issues. Heartwrenching.

Incidently, Kelly, I thought of you and of our entire LGBT community last week when I had to sit in on a 'Cultural Diversity' training for work. LGBT rights are now recognized in our policy. We cannot be discriminated against based upon sexual orientation or transgender/gender reassignment, as stated in my agency's policies. Even someone who is suspected to be gay or bisexual, cannot be intimidated harrassed or excluded. I have not worked at an agency that has this policy, to date. It may be a small triumph, but for the backwoods of western Pennsylvania, let me tell you girl, it's a HUGE step.