Rest in the Peace You Couldn't Find Here

[Trigger warning for suicide and transphobia.]

Shaker TheDeviantE emailed me about the suspected suicide of LA Times sportswriter Mike Penner, aka Christine Daniels, whose (aborted) public transitioning to womanhood was chronicled in a blog titled "Woman in Progress" under the name Christine Daniels.

We discussed Penner's coming out here when it was announced in 2007; I did not realize that "by October 2008 Penner had quietly gone back to work as a man." I don't know the reasons for Penner's decision to halt transitioning, although I can imagine, especially given hir (I don't know how zie would have preferred to be identified, so I am using gender-neutral pronouns) decision to take hir own life. Zie had to face, very publicly, a metric fuckton of hatred and bigotry.

TheDeviantE writes (which I am publishing with his permission):
[The article on Yahoo was front-paged under the headline] "Transsexual Los Angeles Times sportswriter found dead" whereas the article's title itself is "LA Times sports writer Mike Penner dead at 52" so in one case it is sensationalizing it, in the other they are glossing over the fact that the writer came out as trans (with a different name) over 2 years ago. Also frustrating is their insistence in using the birth name and male pronouns, even when talking about the time of her life when she publicly identified as a woman.

Besides the horrible transphobic stuff in the article itself is the tragedy of it of course. This is a woman who took decades to finally be able to be true to herself, only to (seemingly) be unable to deal with the world once she had finally been able to come out. It just reminds me of the "real life test" or "real life experience" that is STILL being forced on those of us who can't find trans friendly professionals to help us. The article though doesn't bother to mention any thing other than that she "eventually dropped the 'Woman in Transition' blog and returned to writing under the name Mike Penner." Um yeah. I wonder why trying to be a sports writer as a woman, let a lone a famously trans woman could be difficult, and why she might go back to her old name. They could have used this as an opportunity to have talked about greater societal issues, instead they used inappropriate pronouns, sensationalized it, and made it generally horrible.
I don't know what else I can add, except for this: Mike/Christine is one of the many people whose names don't make it onto the list of victims published on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Zie was not murdered, but zie is almost certainly dead due to transphobia, at least in part, nonetheless.

I resolve again to be an uncompromising ally to my trans sisters and brothers, actively, every day.


Eulogies from friends: Scott French and Kevin Bronson.

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