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A Republican Senator apologized after making transphobic remarks while addressing University of Wyoming college graduates as a keynote speaker.
In her commencement speech on Sunday, Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming had suggested constitutional rights were under attack in the U.S. and that “even fundamental scientific truths such as the existence of two sexes, male and female, are subject to challenge these days.”
OOF: Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) was resoundingly booed on Saturday -- in the middle of her commencement address at the University of Wyoming -- for claiming it is a "fundamental scientific truth\u201d that there can only be two sexes.https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cynthia-lummis-booed-two-sexes-wyoming-commencement_n_628289e4e4b04353eb07cdf0?v7m\u00a0\u2026— Jennifer Bendery (@Jennifer Bendery) 1652726783
Her speech was met with jeers and boos.
Good for the students, booing Ms. Lummis for her anti- LGBTQ! Her speech was very inappropriate at a commencement . The ceremony is about the students, not her opinion on LGBTQ.— Grandma Vickie (@Grandma Vickie) 1652736245
There's no place for hate.\nGen Z doesn't play. They are young, strong & have zero tolerance for this kind of garbage. Go Gen Z. You rock!— Zycr9 \u270a\ud83d\udc68\ud83d\udc4d \ud83c\udf0a \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83c\udf0a (@Zycr9 \u270a\ud83d\udc68\ud83d\udc4d \ud83c\udf0a \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83c\udf0a) 1652750407
It\u2019s abhorrent Sen. Lummis used such a moment of joy and optimism before a captive audience waiting for their diplomas to spew this anti-trans rhetoric. But the immediate response from students is heartening. There\u2019s a lot of allies and love on campus.— Tony Webster (@Tony Webster) 1652644460
As the majority of the crowd audibly disapproved of her transphobic remark, Lummis–who is a UW graduate from Cheyenne– paused for roughly 25-seconds and awkwardly smiled.
Cynthia Lummis making University of Wyomimg graduation political and getting booed for good reason. #FuckingPoliticians— Kowboy (@Kowboy) 1652569310
Proud of the crowd booing @SenLummis this weekend. Her transphobia might fly with the Park County Republican Men's Club, but not at @uwyo. #thekidsarealrighthttps://oilcity.news/wyoming/education/2022/05/15/sen-cynthia-lummis-apologizes-for-two-sexes-comment-that-evoked-jeers-boos-at-uw-commencement/\u00a0\u2026— Better Wyoming (@Better Wyoming) 1652727564
I knew my faith in the younger generations would pay off!\nNow, if my generation would wake up or die off ~\nY\u2019all got this.— now is not the time to quit ~ (@now is not the time to quit ~) 1652725223
“You know, I challenge those of you. I’m not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes.”
You can hear her statement at the 49:42 mark in the YouTube video shared by UW IT Productions, here.
After the backlash from her speech, Lummis issued the following statement.
“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times in which we find ourselves, times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate with potential implications for the shared Wyoming value of equality,” she said.
Lummis continued in her statement of apology:
“I share the fundamental belief that women and men are equal, but also acknowledge that there are biological differences and circumstances in which these differences need to be recognized."
"That being said, it was never my intention to make anyone feel un-welcomed or disrespected, and for that I apologize."
"I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue.”
Many politicians\u2019 apologies are weak and lack a genuine remorse. Rather, it\u2019s a feeble attempt to \u201csave face\u201d.pic.twitter.com/ox4igz1TMk— Todd Oberlin (@Todd Oberlin) 1652803820
Maybe you shouldn't have made the horrible, myopic, shallow statement to begin with, #CynthiaLummis.https://oilcity.news/wyoming/education/2022/05/15/sen-cynthia-lummis-apologizes-for-two-sexes-comment-that-evoked-jeers-boos-at-uw-commencement/\u00a0\u2026— Mike Xq28guy \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (NSFW) (@Mike Xq28guy \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (NSFW)) 1652668984
University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel responded to the fallout without naming the GOP Senator in a released statement.
“One of our speakers made remarks regarding biological sex that many on campus take issue with,” said Seidel.
“While we respect the right of all to express their views, from students to elected officials, we unequivocally state that UW is an institution that supports and celebrates its diverse communities that collectively make us the wonderful place that we are.”
Lummis voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act–citing it was a "state's rights issue."
The hate crime legislation was named after Matthew Shepard–a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998.
.@SenLummis holy shit, you are a dumb woman. In Wyoming of all states too - Matthew Shepard. \n\nThe GOP is the party of abuse.\nAnd, the sexes are not just XX and XY. \n\nGOP senator booed at university commencement speech apologizes for 'two genders' commenthttps://www.rawstory.com/gop-senator-booed-at-university-commencement-speech-apologizes-for-two-genders-comment/\u00a0\u2026— \ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf0a\ud83e\ude85\u0f3a\u025b\u029f\u0284\u025b\u0262\u01df \u026e\u01df\u0188\u01df\u0f3b\ud83e\ude85\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf3b (@\ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf0a\ud83e\ude85\u0f3a\u025b\u029f\u0284\u025b\u0262\u01df \u026e\u01df\u0188\u01df\u0f3b\ud83e\ude85\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udf3b) 1652799236
Thank you to all these students! It was the right thing to do and we\u2019re proud of you. Stronger than most adults I know and definitely more in touch with humanity.— Nanci Alexander (@Nanci Alexander) 1652720232
WAY TO GO UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING STUDENTS!!! Chase em off stage!!! GOOD JOB!!!— RESISTcomiprop (@RESISTcomiprop) 1652719856
The anti-trans remarks in the Senator's commencement speech come amidst a proliferation of Republican-backed transphobic legislation targeting young students in schools and in sports.
In February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on citizens to investigate parents of transgender children if it appears the minors are receiving gender-affirming medical care.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the controversial "Parental Rights in Education" bill–also known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill–which bans the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms from kindergarten to third grade.