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Friday, April 27, 2007

Mike Penner Coming Out as Transgender

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen has a great post at Time's "Work in Progress", talking about the story of sportswriter Mike Penner, who is transitioning to Christine in the "hyper-macho world of sports journalism" as she puts it. CNN has more details as well.

I think there couldn't have been a better time for Christine Daniels -- as she will be known -- right after Steve Stanton in Florida and the introduction of a transgender-inclusive federal employment non-discrimination bill. It's my guess that there are a few more public figures who are planning to transition, who will see this as a good time to come out.

This is an issue that is coming up more and more as we become a more free and open society. I hope that Christine Daniels finds as much success as Mike Penner did.

The story is particularly interesting for the way that it demonstrates how professional organizations do this: talk to HR, talk to management, communicate with co-workers, clients and customers, take a break, come back in your new gender, get on with work. Transgender workplace diversity challenges people's notions of "normal", but it doesn't have to be traumatic.

Management's response also shows how to do it: "He leaned back in his chair, looked through his office window to scan the newsroom and mused, "Well, no one can ever say we don't have diversity on this staff." We've discussed management response to employee coming out before, but I've never heard that one.

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