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USA Today Gives ‘Woman of the Year’ Honor to Transgender Democrat

AP Photo/Trisha Ahmed

USA Today honored a biological male Democratic lawmaker who identifies as a transgender woman on its annual “Women of the Year” list.  

Democratic state Rep. Leigh Finke is the first “openly transgender” person to be elected and serve in Minnesota’s state legislature. Late last week, Finke was selected as the state’s nominee for the “Women of the Year” list. The list began in 2022 as a continuation of “Women of the Century,” which celebrated 100 years of women having the right to vote. 


“It's a dramatic understatement to say that I am beyond honored to see my name among this list of honorees,” Finke wrote on Twitter.

In USA Today’s profile of Finke, it claimed that Finke transitioned six years ago and “was always interested in politics” but never planned on running for office (via St. Cloud Times): 

Leigh Finke has always fought to change the world for the better.

Growing up in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Finke was always interested in politics but never planned to be a political candidate herself. In November after her first bid for public office, Finke became the first transgender legislator appointed to the Minnesota House of Representatives after winning 81% of the vote in her district.

Finke has been an activist for transgender and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as Black Lives Matter, almost her whole life.

After transitioning in 2017 Finke said politics began hitting "a lot closer to home." Witnessing national and coordinated attacks against the rights of transgender people and others in her community motivated her to be the representation Minnesota was lacking.

Finke is USA TODAY's honoree for Women of the Year for the state of Minnesota.


In the interview, Finke said that there are currently 11 LGBTQ people who were elected to the Minnesota state legislature. Finke claimed that “trans liberation is upward flowing” and that “everyone will benefit from the work that we're trying to do for our young people.”

Last year, Townhall covered how USA Today honored Dr. Rachel Levine , the U.S. assistant secretary for health, on the same list. Levine, a four-star admiral, was born a biological male, Richard Levine, and transitioned to live as a female. Previously, Levine was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“Levine, 64, a trained pediatrician, became the nation's highest-ranking openly transgender official last March when the Senate confirmed her as assistant secretary of health,” USA TODAY wrote in its profile of Levine last year. The report boasted that Levine leads a group of 6,000 uniformed public health officers on a daily basis and described Levine’s position as “crucial” during the pandemic and that one of Levine’s concerns is “about the challenges women and girls face related to body image.”

Just last week, Townhall reported how Levine promised to “normalize” life-altering, irreversible gender mutilation surgeries for minors. 

"I can say that the children, their families, and you all as their providers have support at the highest levels of the federal government," Levine said.


“I think that as we look to all the different elections in 2024, I think the next two years are going to be challenging. But I am positive and optimistic and hopeful that the wheel will turn after that and that this issue won't be as politically and socially such a minefield," Levine added. 

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