Peter Sprigg

Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg writes on Monday: “Remembering Mike Penner.” Penner was a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times. At the age of 50 Penner transitioned to female “Christine Daniel.” Penner committed suicide on November 27, 2009 at the age of 52.

Mr. Sprigg, a Baptist minister, works for an anti-LGBT hate group. He is at least partially responsible for that designation. He is personally responsible for making life more difficult for LGBT people. Mr. Sprigg can shove his phony remembrance of someone with gender dysphoria where the sun does not shine. It is disgraceful. Sprigg is a disgrace.

Penner wrote, in The Times:

I am a transsexual sportswriter. 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. … When you reach the point when one gender causes heartache and unbearable discomfort, and the other brings more joy and fulfillment than you ever imagined possible, it shouldn’t take two tons of bricks to fall in order to know what to do.

Penner de-transitioned about a year later. He had hoped to salvage his marriage which ultimately ended in divorce. He was extraordinarily distressed and depressed. In the summer of 2009, Susan Horn and Amy LaCoe (trans friends) said, he was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation. Horn said that a delusional Penner called her from the hospital, accusing The Times of having broken into his apartment to steal compromising pictures. Penner was in a terrible state when he ended his life.

A few things bear mentioning. First off, we have learned a great deal more about gender dysphoria over the eight years since Penner’s death. Secondly,  middle-age transitions are the most difficult to adjust to. Later in life, people have more rigidly defined roles for males and females. They also have long time friends who they might have known for decades who are now surprised by the change of gender. Finally, later in life transitions are cosmetically different. Other journalists reported that Penner was not very feminine. Penner, herself, thought that she was ugly.

I would need an antiemetic to review Sprigg’s self-serving piece at great length so I will quote just one passage:

Of course, every person’s story is unique, so there are limits to how much you can generalize about a group of people from what happened to one individual. Nevertheless, Penner’s sad story should serve as a cautionary tale to those—whether transgender or not—who assume that a “gender transition” is automatically the best solution for someone experiencing “gender dysphoria” (an unhappiness with their biological sex at birth).

Translation: “We shouldn’t generalize but I will do so.” Sprigg is not a psychiatrist and neither am I. I would argue (as a non-professional) that parents can prevent these tragedies by responding to the needs of their children with gender dysphoria early. Social transitions are much easier for younger people. Teens who go from puberty blockers to hormones are likely to be far more cosmetically successful than middle-age adults. This enhances their own sense of self and reduces stress. Younger people are also more receptive to talk therapy because roles for males and females are less ingrained into their psyches. I am not a doctor so my take is speculative. People require the care of experienced clinicians.

Peter Sprigg is not interested in what is best for trans people or those with gender dysphoria. Nor is Sprigg interested in medical science. Sprigg’s only interest is promoting conservative Christian pseudoscience. Sprigg wants to prevent parents from allowing their children to transition which only increases the potential for self-harm. Sprigg is not a hate group leader — He is a hate group follower; indecent and devoid of compassion. Sprigg is an enabler of discrimination and persecution, all tied neatly in a bow comprised of scripture.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.