Remember the good ol’ days, way back in June 2015, when the Obama Administration (sigh) announced that some of our folding money had too many wrinkles, and was about to get a facelift?
At that time, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that by 2020, a new version of the $20 bill would feature the face of a woman “who was a champion for our inclusive democracy.”
Excellent! I’ve carried pictures of old white men around on my ass for my whole life. I’d love to slide a woman in and out of my back pocket for a change. Pun intended. Hopefully, having a woman’s face grace the twenty will not automatically reduce its value to $14.
Not long after that, it was decided that Harriet Tubman’s mug would be that new face. For those who may not be aware (or who are the victim of an education that places Moses — you know, Ten-Commandments, Bronze-Age Moses — as a founding father of the U.S.), Harriet Tubman is best known as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom during the Civil War.
I strongly applaud the possibility of Tubman being the moneyshot. Imagine those MAGA Nazis always having to lug around multiple ones and fives to pay for their Chick-fil-A. Priceless. (Speaking of Nazis, rumors that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s pretty little face will be featured on a limited edition $3 bill are highly exaggerated.)
Try not to be too shocked, but earlier this month the current administration’s Treasury Secretary has delayed the Tubman update ‘til 2028.
“These are very complex things that once they’re developed require different machinery to be made,” current Sec. Steve Mnuchin told the Washington Post, adding that the $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features before that.
OK then, Steve, let’s go ahead and start designing more “different machinery” for some further money changing.
• $1 bill: We don’t hear much about Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish anymore. On May 17, 2004, after spending 17 years together, the two women were joined in matrimony in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the first legal gay marriage in the United States. That was the same year the Republican Party tried to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, because “homosexual marriage” would destroy the sanctity of marriage. And now marriage equality legal, nationwide. Let it go, GOPers.
Still married, the McCloskey-Kadishes have remained pretty low key in these past 11 years. They just wanted to be married, not make a career out of their love on the high-dollar champagne-and-tuxedo queer speakers circuit. Having their image on the simple $1 would be a perfect way to thank them for not turning their marriage into a product. On the flip side of the $1, how about their two hands entwined in love?
• $5 bill: Barbara Gittings. You thought Stonewall in 1969 was the first time LGBT folks stood up and publically demanded equality? Nope.
In 1965, Gittings helped lead a group of lesbians and gay men staged non-violent protests in front of the White House and the State Department, protesting employment discrimination. She also edited The Ladder, dedicating her life to fight for LGBT rights at a time when gay men’s voices were usually the only voices heard. (Imagine that!) For the bill’s other side, I suggest an etching of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where Gittings and 39 other queers openly picketed on July 4, 1965.
• $10 bill: Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon would make excellent candidates. In 1956, Martin and Lyon founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco, the first organization for lesbians in the U.S. The group was an offshoot of the Mattachine Society, the country’s first gay organization, where some male members determined Del and Phyl’s lack of penises deemed them unfit for the group. The couple also founded the aforementioned The Ladder, the country’s first lesbian publication. On the flip side of the new $10, how about an image of a manual typewriter, representing the tool that first brought lesbians out of isolation to form community that wasn’t shame-based?
• $50 bill: Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, with a shot of her girlfriend Lorena Hickock smoking a cigar, on the back. (Google it. It’s hot.)
• $100 bill: Instead of having a single image, why not mix it up a little? Place a reflective substance there, mirroring the face of whomever is holding the bill. That way, when Donald Trump tips his hooker-du-jour with a C-note, he’ll get a good look at himself and maybe feel a little guilty.
Just kidding. Donald Trump doesn’t feel guilt. And I seriously doubt he tips.