Transgender lawmaker wins ‘Woman of the Year’ award

Lazy eyes listen


The USA Today newspaper has named Leigh Finke, a transgender former journalist and author who was elected as a state representative late last year, Minnesota’s “Woman of the Year.” Some American conservatives have criticized the decision.

Finke, a Democrat who transitioned in 2017, became Minnesota’s first transgender legislator when she received 81% of the vote in the left-leaning Twin Cities metropolitan area’s House of Representatives election in November. She took over in early January.

According to USA Today’s list of female honorees, she is “fighting to build a better future for trans youth.” Finke was chosen for the honor alongside Michelle Obama, actress Goldie Hawn, and the entire US women’s soccer team.

Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, insisted on social media that Finke’s award was “well-deserved,” arguing that she had demonstrated “tenacity, bravery, and leadership” in her role as a rookie lawmaker.

Finke has advocated for legislation to make Minnesota a “trans sanctuary state,” and USA Today wrote about her activism for “transgender and LGBTQ+ rights,” as well as Black Lives Matter, which she claims she has supported “almost her entire life.”

In a tweet about the award on Sunday, Finke said, “As an elected [official], I recognize that I just got here.” The trust placed in me by my district, the queer community, and my colleagues at the capitol has been life-giving.”

Several prominent political figures, however, have spoken out against the decision to honor the legislator. “What will ever be left for biological females?” asked Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary during Donald Trump’s presidency, on Fox News on Tuesday.

“What does it take for a conservative woman to make such a list?” she asked.

Guy Benson, a Fox News commentator, argued that there are several examples of both biological and transgender women who deserve recognition for various accomplishments, but Finke should not be one of them. Her selection, he claimed, was merely a “political statement.”

“This is about saying, ‘There’s a culture war, there’s a lot of controversy about trans issues, so let’s find some and put them on these lists to make a statement,'” Benson claimed.

In 2022, transgender Biden administration official Rachel Levine was named to USA Today’s list of “Women of the Year.”