Transgender male named to USA Today’s ‘Woman of the Year’ list

by Jacob Fuller

Trey Paul, FISM News 

Democratic State Rep. Leigh Finke, a biological man who is Minnesota’s first transgender state lawmaker, was awarded USA Today’s annual “Woman of the Year” in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.’

This is not the first time USA Today honored a transgender male on its “Women of the Year” list. Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Biden administration, was placed on the list last year.

The distinction is given to women who have “made a significant impact in their communities and across the country.”

“I have a future-oriented vision of what the work is, that is how I think of it. I think about what we’re doing for our children’s sake, for the next generation, for 30 years from now,” Finke said.


Regarding a future-oriented vision, at least one panelist on the FOX show “Outnumbered” questioned what opportunities will be available for conventional women while discussing USA Today’s list. “What will ever be left for biological females? Michelle Obama is also on the list,” Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “What does it take for a conservative woman to get on a list like this?”

Fellow commentator Emily Compagno also chimed in and said that Finke’s appointment to the list was pure identity politics at the cost of hard-working women everywhere.

“It is so exhausting, in my opinion, to have immutable characteristics or box-checking characteristics be the reason that someone is amplified to that level,” Compagno said.

Rep. Finke was only elected three months ago and is also facing criticism and backlash on social media from those who feel the lawmaker isn’t deserving of the title “Woman of the Year.”

Sarah Fields, an elected delegate in Texas and president of the pro-family group “Texas Freedom Coalition,” refused to identify Rep. Finke as a woman in a post on social media. She tweeted:

Meet Leigh Finke, a transgender legislator in Minnesota. HE is one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Year.’ So many wonderful women truly deserve this kind of recognition. USA Today can shove their contempt towards real women where the sun doesn’t shine.

Another person on social media felt Finke should have declined to be on the list, tweeting: “If you had any honor, you’d decline. You identify who you are to be comfortable in your own skin and pursue happiness as such, not for attention. This denies a biological female that achieved success with the challenges biological females have.”

USA Today wrote that Rep. Finke has been “an activist for transgender and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as Black Lives Matter, almost her whole life.”


This week, Finke faced criticism when a writer for the Daily Caller reported that the lawmaker referred to the past alleged sexual assault of a minor as “irrelevant” during a Minnesota committee meeting. The victim reported being assaulted by a nonprofit employee. The meeting was to consider funding to showcase artifacts from “Honor the Earth,” an environmental indigenous group.

“That lawsuit is irrelevant,” Democratic state Rep. Leigh Finke said to the Legacy Finance Committee in Minnesota. “I’m embarrassed, I’m upset, I’m angry. This is wrong. This is not what we should have been talking about,” Finke said about the mention of the allegation during the hearing.

A Minnesota news organization also took note of Rep. Finke’s comments and tweeted: “MN Democrats think it is ‘irrelevant’ that a group asking for state tax dollars employed and defended a man accused of sexually assaulting a minor, and allegedly fired an employee who spoke out.”

Rep. Finke is also working on a bill that would make Minnesota a “trans refuge” for children who want to change their gender.