Gone was quiet, circumspect Mike Penner, replaced by ebullient, outgoing — and instantly famous — Christine Daniels. Celebrity meant a megaphone, and Daniels vowed to use it as an advocate.
She championed transsexual rights in print and was praised at gay and transgender conferences. She chronicled her transition in a Times blog, Woman in Progress.
“Everybody wanted some of her,” said Donna Rose, a transsexual friend. “People are looking for hope.”
In the spotlight, Daniels seemed acutely self-conscious but also driven by a sense of purpose. She told people that God had given her a high profile in order to bring transsexualism into the mainstream.
Paul Oberjuerge, then a sports columnist for the San Bernardino Sun, was in the crowd. “I hate to be judgmental about these things, but Christine is not an attractive woman,“ he wrote on his blog, noting that Daniels had a prominent Adam’s apple and stood more than 6 feet tall in wobbly heels. “It seemed almost as if we’re all going along with someone’s dress-up role playing. . . . ”