Republican Cynthia Lummis seemed taken aback by the reaction, tried to explain her stance, then gave up and moved on
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) got more than she bargained for when she tried to demagogue trans issues in her graduation address at the University of Wyoming last weekend:
University of Wyoming students booed U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis during her speech at the school’s commencement ceremony on Saturday following her comment that “even fundamental scientific truths, such as the existence of two sexes, male and female, are subject to challenge these days.”
Lummis, a Republican and UW alumni, paused and smiled amid the jeers and attempted briefly to explain her comment.
“I’m not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes,” she said.
But she dropped the matter as the boos continued and finished the rest of her prepared speech.
University President Ed Seidel sent out a statement following the ceremony:
“One of our speakers made remarks regarding biological sex that many on campus take issue with,” he wrote. “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 …”
Lummis said later in an emailed statement that her “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 also apologized in the statement for her comment that sparked the booing, saying that it wasn’t her intention “to make anyone feel un-welcomed or disrespected …”
“I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue,” she wrote.
I’m sure that conservatives will whip up their followers with cries of cancel culture, but the fact is that even if student boos interrupted Lummis’ address, it did not cancel it.
Lummis, it should be noted, was one of the people who supported efforts to overturn Biden’s lawful election in favor of Trump, according to this article with a confusing headline.
Note that Lummis’ remarks start around the 50:11 mark in the video below.
This is an issue I ponder every time I read stories about highly-valued athletes and scholars rejecting scholarships and jobs at universities and colleges in deep red America. Who stops to think about how actions such as those of Sen. Lummis reflect badly on the state and its companies and institutions?
Young people are growing up in an America where gender issues and long-assumed cultural norms are up for debate. They are maturing around trans people whom they likely find admirable and non-threatening.
If I were a prized football recruit from a high school in a more enlightened part of America, it would not be an attractive prospect to go play football in a state where ignorance is the norm from local officials. Especially if I were a member of a potentially targeted group, or cared for someone who is a member of any group the GOP has decided to target in exchange for support from MAGA types.
At any rate, good for the U-Wyoming students who chose to prove they are not in lock-step with the right-wing leaders around them.