Suffering from a condition known as "gender dysphoria," L.A. Times sportswriter Mike Penner announced in a widely read 2007 column that he would henceforth be writing (and living) as a woman after "a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy." And so, writes Christopher Goffard in the Times, was the world introduced to the "ebullient, outgoing — and instantly famous — Christine Daniels." The column ended hopefully: "This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship," Daniels promised her new readers. But the challenges of making a transition of that magnitude in the public eye proved more than either Daniels or Penner could handle:
"Celebrity meant a megaphone, and Daniels vowed to use it as an advocate. She told her story at transsexual conferences across the country, becoming a symbol of courage to a transgender community inspired by the most visible coming-out in decades.
"But a year after the essay, the Daniels byline vanished from the newspaper, and within months Penner was back at work, living as a man and writing under his male name. This time, there was no essay, no explanation. But friends saw a person in torment."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
Subscribe to the Week