Things are definitely changing for the Los Angeles Times as sportswriter Mike Penner wrote his final words this week and revealed a secret that he has been holding inside for his entire life.

He will be taking a few weeks vacation and when he returns to his position, his work will be penned under the name Christine Daniels.

Penner is undergoing a sex reassignment operation and plans on returning to the Times as a female sports writer.

“I am a transsexual sportswriter,” Penner wrote in his column. “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 realise many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them.”

In the column, Penner tells the story of his lifelong struggle, feeling like a woman trapped in a man’s body and the journey he began this past year to make his outside match his feelings inside.

He describes how he suffered from severe writer’s block, and once he made the decision to embrace his feelings, he was much happier and able to work again.

The 48 year old is married to Lisa Dillman who also is a sports writer for the Times, and the couple have been preparing for the announcement for a while.

Penner has been a staple for the paper for several years and has extensively covered the NFL.

When he revealed the news to his boss editor Randy Harvey, Harvey simple responded: “Well, no one can ever say we don’t have diversity on this staff.”

Not everyone has been so laid back about the news though.

Newsbusters.com suggested that the news was in fact not news at all, saying:

“While no one can deny that Penner has been through some intense personal struggles, his column read like a brochure from the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.”

Daniels plans to return to the paper a new woman at the end of May.

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