Columnist eyes Daniels warily

San Bernardino Sun sports columnist Paul Oberjuerge seems to have a bit of a thing about Christine Daniels, the transgender sports scribe for the L.A. Times. Oberjuerge encountered Daniels in the David Beckham media frenzy, and from the sound of it could barely keep from tittering. From his blog post, and all the ellipses are his (use this link if necessary):

Penner is the guy who announced in, what, April? that he would henceforth be living as a woman, name of Christine Daniels. He/she was born a man, lived as a man for about 50 years, was married, etc. ... but always wanted to be a woman, and told the world so in a column the L.A. Times ran.

Quite a drama, that is. But none of us had actually seen Mike ... uh, Christine ... since the announcement. Aside from her friends in the biz.


We were at the Beckham introductory thing at Home Depot Center ... and were heading upstairs for the small-scale interviews in the suites ... when I spotted a very large woman ahead of me ... and it struck me, "Whoa. That's Mike Penner. Christine."

Anyway, I feel bad for the guy/girl. From what little I've seen of the blog he/she is doing, she (I'm gonna try to stick with the female thing now) seems quite happy. Buoyant, even. Massively relieved to be living as a woman. And that's fine.

But ...

I hate to be judgmental about these things, but Christine is not an attractive woman. Which probably isn't a surprise when you're 50 and have spent your in-the-world life as a fairly drab guy. Who has a fairly prominent Adam's apple (not all of us do) ... Who also isn't exactly petite. Maybe 6-1, 200?

So ... she looks like a guy in a dress, pretty much. Except anyone paying any attention isn't going to be fooled -- as some people are by veteran transvestites.


The thing is, and maybe this is cruel, but there were women in that room who were born women in body as well as soul. And the difference between them and Christine was, in my mind, fairly stark.

It seemed almost as we're all going along with someone's dress-up role playing ... and I assume it's far more important than that inside this person's head. But it's going to take a while for the Average Joes among us to get our minds around this. And I've got to assume Christine understands that.

The Beckham unveiling was a coming out for Daniels, her first sports event as a woman with a new name on her credential. She blogs:

He arrived wearing a silver-gray Burberry suit, surrounded by a phalanx of assistants and yes-people...I arrived wearing a golden-hued top from Ross and a multi-colored paisley skirt from Ames and a pair of open-toed tan heels from Aerosoles, surrounded by nobody...

It was a big deal for me because Id waited more than 25 years for this moment, dreaming about how it might play out if it ever came to be, if and when and fingers tightly crossed. It also apparently was a big deal to most of the radio and print reporters who have interviewed me since April 26 -- What will it be like when you start covering games, Christine? Are you going to be nervous?

She was calm: "This was my turf. I belonged here."

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