January 14, 2010

A Moving Eulogy for a Transgender Sportswriter

You will seldom find anything written about a transgender person under the ESPN brand, or any sports label for that matter, and when you do it is often some type of snide joke. 

Not this essay from ESPN's Rick Riley, a moving story about the late Mike/Christeine Penner, a fellow sportswriter and also a friend under either name.  Here's an excerpt:

On the same day, in the same town, two sportswriters, two friends of mine, killed themselves.

One was my old hoops buddy Mike Penner, who started at the Los Angeles Times the same year I did. The other was Christine Daniels, a blonde who bubbled from heels to highlights.

Mike was a little quiet, a little reclusive, a lot brilliant. He hated going to locker rooms. He preferred staying home, making mix tapes and writing sentences that were chunks of perfection. He once described then-Angels GM Mike Port's fractured syntax as "Port-uguese."

Christine was the opposite: gregarious, 100 mph talker, always looking to cover an event, to be seen, the Funmeter pegged, the curls bouncing. She was flirty, always lightly grabbing your arm when she talked, covering her mouth when she laughed, which seemed like all the time.
"Mike hasn't bought shoes in six years," Christine told me once. "I've got 50 new pairs!"

What's heartbreaking is that they were the same person.
Click here to read the rest of the essay.

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