Today brought the sad news that Los Angeles Times sports columnist Mike Penner–who spoke at NLGJA’s 2007 Convention as Christine Daniels–was found dead today of an apparent suicide.

Here’s a brief statement from NLGJA’s president David Steinberg:

I had the brief pleasure of knowing this fine-hearted human being. The person I got to know as Christine and many others knew as Mike Penner showed immense courage in attempting to write a new chapter in life.

Mike, then Christine, spoke eloquently at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention about the struggles she had endured and the blessings she had experienced
being able to transition at work. I wish only that peace had been longer-lived.

I hope that the work of NLGJA and journalists everywhere to ensure fair and accurate coverage of transgender people will help ease the barriers that made life as both Christine and Mike so difficult.

Here is how the transition to Christine Daniels was described in 2007.

“During my 23 years with The Times’ sports department, I have held a wide variety of roles and titles. Tennis writer. Angels beat reporter. Olympics writer. Essayist. Sports media critic. NFL columnist. Recent keeper of the Morning Briefing flame. Today I leave for a few weeks’ vacation, and when I return, I will come back in yet another incarnation.

As Christine.

I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them.”

In 2008, Daniels announced she was now going to be using her original name Mike Penner and the byline was changed.

For some nice remembrances, check out Jim Buzinksi at Outsports and Autumn Sandeen at Pam’s House Blend.