Maureen Raisch, the lead designer of the logo for next year’s Super Bowl, has come out as a transgender woman.
Raisch shared her identity in a video posted to Twitter for the recent Transgender Awareness Week.
“I arrived at a place in my life where I needed to face who my authentic self was to move forward,” she said. “What I’m pleased to share is that as daunting as a task it was, I have the support and acceptance of my creative team and the league itself. That gives me strength to come out as transgender in the NFL. We have an opportunity at the NFL to create change. At creative, we dream up the impossible, but for me, life imitated art. I stand here rebranded as my authentic self.”
Raisch has been out to her family, friends, and colleagues for seven months, she told Forbes. The pandemic-related lockdown actually was a boon to her transition, as the NFL let employees work half-days, and she used one of them to have her first makeover. “It was so right and a very special time for me,” she said in the Forbes interview.
When she tweeted her coming-out video, she also shared pre- and post-transition photos and, unlike many trans people, her previous name. She doesn’t think of it as a deadname, she told Forbes.
“The relationship I have with that name really doesn’t bother me, actually, nor do I associate the word ‘dead’ with it. I call it my ‘legacy name,’” she said. “I think of the newer Star Wars films: They looked at Harrison Ford as Han Solo and called him ‘the legacy character.’ So I looked at that and thought, Ah, ‘legacy;’ I like that! Because for me, I’ve published so much work and art under that name, under ‘Michael,’ that work is part of me. Those World Series logos I designed as far back as 2006, 2009, it’s part of my body of work as an artist.”
Raisch, now 39, has worked in advertising, marketing, and related creative fields for 18 years. Her efforts include logos for the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, both Major League Baseball teams, and designs for many other brands and events. She has won a Clio, the advertising industry’s most prestigious award.
The logo for Super Bowl LVI, to be held in February in Los Angeles, was very much a team project, but she felt it was important to show that a trans woman had a major role in it. “Contributing something of value to the Super Bowl as a brand, for America to know that a trans woman created it, I think is a powerful thing,” she told Forbes.
The NFL is seen as a macho, conservative world, but that is changing, Raisch said in the Forbes interview. “The NFL is, it’s a microcosm of America,” said Raisch. “These issues that come to the forefront that are important are about, you know, race, equality, what Colin Kaepernick was saying. And mental health of players, all those things. And somehow, I brought up a real relevant conversation about identity and gender and transition into the league. I wanted to be my authentic self, be balanced, be whole, be complete. One of our art directors said this really well: that this conversation, if it starts with the NFL, it can disseminate back into America.”