9/11 Hero’s Widower Returns Wife’s “Woman of the Year” Award Because Same Award Was Given to Caitlyn Jenner


On September 11th, 2001, NYPD officer Moira Smith died a hero as she helped evacuate people from the World Trade Center just before dying in the collapsed South Tower. In honor of her heroism, Glamour Magazine posthumously awarded her their “Woman of the Year” award that year. Now, in 2015, her widower, James Smith not only dishonors his wife’s memory, but displays his own ignorance, bias, and hatred in an epic display of mansplaining.

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You see, this year’s Glamour Magazine “Woman of the Year” is Caitlyn Jenner, who is called “The Trans Champion.” This didn’t sit well with Mr. Smith, who promptly FedExed his wife’s award back to Glamour Magazine along with a letter that misgenders and maligns Jenner:

On October 29th, 2001 I was honored to accept the Glamour Magazine “Woman of the Year Award” posthumously given to my wife, Police Officer Moira Smith. Moira was killed on September 11th, 2001 while rescuing thousands from the World Trade Center. EMT Yamel Merino was also posthumously honored that evening for her heroism.

I was shocked and saddened to learn that Glamour has just named Bruce Jenner “Woman of the Year”. I find it insulting to Moira Smith’s memory, and the memory of other heroic women who have earned this award. Was there no woman in America, or the rest of the world, more deserving than this man? At a time when we have women in the armed forces fighting and dying for our country, heroic doctors fighting deadly diseases, women police officers and firefighters putting their lives on the line for total strangers, brave women overcoming life threatening diseases…the list of possibilities goes on…is this the best you could do?

I can only guess that this was a publicity stunt meant to resuscitate a dying medium.

After discussing this slap in the face to the memory of our Hero with my family, I have decided to return Moira’s award to Glamour Magazine.

A Glamour spokesperson spoke with the New York Post, saying:

We were proud to honor his wife . . . in 2001, and we stand by our decision to honor Caitlyn Jenner. Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards recognize women with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Now, there’s a legitimate argument to be made against Jenner getting the award for other reasons (especially considering the fact that, since Jenner is still learning about the trans community, many in that community don’t think she’s the best spokesperson/advocate right now). However, by insisting on calling Jenner by her old name and referring to her as “this man,” Smith proves that he’s clearly coming from a place of disrespect, ignorance, and bigotry.

Not only that, but despite his insistence that awarding this award to Jenner is “insulting to Moira Smith’s memory,” it’s his own actions that do that. It’s not his award to give away! It’s hugely insulting and disrespectful to his wife that he would take something that was given to honor her heroism during a national tragedy simply to express his own hatred of transgender people. I didn’t know Moira Smith, so it’s impossible to know how she would’ve responded to this “transgender tipping point,” but one thing’s for sure: it isn’t up to her husband or anyone else in her family to make that statement for her. Not now.

(via Jezebel; Image via Nicholas Hunt for Getty Images)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.