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On Saturday, November 28, Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner was found dead in his home, an apparent suicide. Penner had been on the sports beat for the Times since 1983, but his public profile skyrocketed in April 2007 when he came out as transgender, began living publicly as a woman, and changed his byline to Christine Daniels. The world lost Christine Daniels before it lost Penner: In 2008, Daniels quietly detransitioned back to Mike.
Penner’s impermanent gender transition left obituary writers with an identity problem. Whose obituary to write: Mike Penner’s or Christine Daniels’s?