Mike Penner’s apparent suicide comes loaded with questions about the LA Times sportswriter’s experience living as a woman named Christine Daniels. Penner’s public revelation that he was transsexual and would transition to the Daniels identity was much celebrated—she even wrote a blog about the experience called “A Woman In Progress.” But last year Daniels quietly switched back to the Mike Penner byline, giving no public explanation.
We’ll never know if the Daniels identity was just a poor fit, or if external pressures drove the switch. The only thing we know is that life wasn’t as easy for Christine Daniels or Mike Penner as they let on. It’s a depressingly common problem—the suicide rate among transsexuals is 30%-50%. “We all have to take some responsibility for that,” writes Rachel Sklar of Mediaite, “by fighting a little harder for the kind of world that would have made it a little easier for him, and for her.” (Read more transsexual stories.)