Washington Examiner

Transgender state lawmaker honored as one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Year’

A transgender lawmaker representing Minnesota has been selected as one of USA Today’s “Women of the Year.” State Rep. Leigh Finke, a biological male who identifies as female, has been honored alongside distinguished personalities like former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and astronaut Nicole Mann.

The acclaimed women come from diverse backgrounds, industries and nationalities but they all excel in making a positive impact in their communities and across the country. “They show up and speak out for those who may not have a voice, advocating for issues from health to equality and justice to the environment and more,” according to USA Today.

Finke is the first transgender person elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives, championing LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, and other social justice issues. He won his district with 81% of the vote, establishing himself as a significant voice for the LGBTQ community.

“After transitioning in 2017 Finke said politics began hitting ‘a lot closer to home,’ the ‘Woman of the Year’ profile on USA Today states. “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.”

The honor bestowed upon Finke sets an example of a “trans elder” for transgender children. “When I started my transition, I had a hard time imagining what trans elders looked like,” said Finke. “We don’t really have a cultural space where what it means to be 75 and a trans woman is available. That’s true also for parents of trans children. And I’m happy to provide that. I’m happy and joyful and well-loved and excited. You know, we’re not a community of sad people who are just depressed.”

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