James J. Smith is the widower of Moira Smith, a police officer who died in the line of duty on 9/11. His late wife was posthumously given a Woman of the Year title by Glamour back in 2001, but Smith felt compelled to return the award when he learned that Jenner was a recipient this year.
Smith wrote a letter to Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive explaining his decision, which he shared on Facebook. The post reads:
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.
James J Smith."
There's absolutely no question that Moira Smith was a hero who saved lives, and that the title awarded to her by Glamour in 2001 is well deserved. That point isn't up for debate; Smith was, and still remains, an American hero.
This is hardly the first time Jenner has faced criticism for her recent wave of accolades and titles. Just last week, she was confronted while leaving an LGBTQ fundraiser by protesters who told her she has "no right to represent us," and is an "insult" to the transgender community.
Not only does Smith imply that someone fighting for trans rights isn't worthy of being deemed a hero, he doesn't consider Caitlyn a woman at all, instead referring to her as Bruce.
Whether or not you think Jenner is a worthy recipient, backlash like this is indicative of how far we still have to go to spread awareness about the trans community, and the understanding that heroism comes in many forms.
In response to Smith's actions, a rep for Glamour told the New York Post, "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.” Jenner has not yet commented on Smith's criticism. (Jezebel)