The United States continues to assert itself as the most progressive and inclusive country in the world. On Tuesday, for example, Amber McLaughlin made history as the first openly transgender woman to be executed by lethal injection.
McLaughlin, 49, was sentenced to death in Missouri for raping and fatally stabbing ex-girlfriend Beverly Guenther in 2003. The convicted murderer, who began transitioning from male to female about three years ago, apologized for her crimes and described herself as a "loving and caring person."
Gov. Mike Parson (R., Mo.) helped the death row inmate realize the historic achievement by denying her last-minute request for clemency. "McLaughlin terrorized Ms. Guenther in the final years of her life, but we hope her family and loved ones may finally have some peace," Parson said in a written statement after the death sentence was carried out.
McLaughlin's historic accomplishment is another major victory for proponents of equality and inclusion. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, just 17 (cisgender) women have managed to join the rarified ranks of executed Americans, which amounts to 1.09 percent of all inmates put to death during that time.
As of Wednesday, trans women account for 0.06 percent of Americans executed by the state. It doesn't sound like much, but it is assuredly an important first step on the slow march to progress. Thanks to McLaughlin's groundbreaking courage and Gov. Parson's steadfast leadership, the long arc of the moral universe was bent ever so slightly toward justice.
This remarkable feat of American exceptionalism came several weeks after diversity advocates celebrated another death-related milestone for female inclusion in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where a lowly woman played a key role in the terrorist regime's first public execution since President Joe Biden's botched military withdrawal in 2021.