The news that LA Times columnist Mike Penner will be making the transition to Christine Daniels is a welcome development, not just for the transsexual community, but for sports. It serves as an another example of the tremendous progress being made by transsexuals, not merely as a matter of their own self-acceptance, but out in the wider world.
In my talking with her about her transition in the weeks leading up to today’s announcement, I counseled her that my experience was that the sports world didn’t go off the rails when I transitioned in 2003. Why? Because sports is the ultimate American social bridge, and what I’ve found is that it serves as a topic that transcends lines of race, gender, class, and culture. Americans love to talk about sports, and if they find a writer or commentator with something interesting to say on the subject, they’re going to listen, or maybe argue–but most of all, they’ll engage. I learned–happily–that the readers of my column and the books that I’ve worked on couldn’t care less whether or not I’m a transsexual. Better still, I found that my colleagues still value my insights, analysis, and opinions–I could not ask for a better collection of teammates. And I’ve learned that my fellow figures in the media still make a place for me in the Fourth Estate. So, in the same way that Mike Penner’s columns have been a must-read for the Times‘ audience for years, so too will Christine Daniels’.
Christine deserves the highest praise for her courage, and my fondest wishes for her success as she transitions. The Times should also be commended for their thoughtful and supportive actions in working with Christine through the most challenging part of a transsexual’s life. It serves as further proof that the country in which we live is achieving great things on small stages, as acceptance becomes the norm and no longer the exception.
Managing Editor, BaseballProspectus.com (If you wish to contact Christina, she can be reached here)