Mike Penner, a sports writer for the LA Times, has decided to become a woman. He will return to the paper as Christine Daniels. He wrote a gripping personal reflection for the paper explaining his decision:
Transsexualism is a complicated and widely misunderstood medical condition. It is a natural occurrence — unusual, no question, but natural.
Recent studies have shown that such physiological factors as genetics and hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can significantly affect how our brains are “wired” at birth.
As extensive therapy and testing have confirmed, my brain was wired female.
A transgender friend provided the best and simplest explanation I have heard: We are born with this, we fight it as long as we can, and in the end it wins.
I gave it as good a fight as I possibly could. I went more than 40 hard rounds with it. Eventually, though, you realize you are only fighting yourself and your happiness and your mental health — a no-win situation any way you look at it.
Good for Mike/Christine. I hope he achieves some peace of mind as a woman. But I wonder about some of his assertions. It’s no secret that there are physiological differences between the brains of men and women. (Reasonable people can disagree about the meaning of these physiological differences, but they still exist.) However, I had no idea that, as Mike Penner asserts, “extensive testing” can demonstrate that some males are trapped inside female brains. Is this really a possible diagnosis? I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to this sort of thing. Perhaps some readers can enlighten me?