Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) faced loud boos and jeering on Saturday after stating a basic scientific fact about biological sex during her commencement address at the University of Wyoming.
What are the details?
Lummis had been asked to speak to recent graduates and their families from several schools on campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, as a part of the spring 2022 graduation ceremony.
According to KTWO, the first several minutes of the speech were well received, as the senator remarked on the importance of humility and hard work in the labor market and pressed the graduates to safeguard fundamental truths and constitutional rights against those who seek to alter or redefine them.
But things dramatically changed when she dared to mention the gender binary among those truths that are being attacked.
"[This includes] our rights to freedom of speech, religion, property, assembly, and to keep and bear arms," Lummis said, adding, "Even fundamental scientific truths, such as the existence of two sexes — male and female — are subject to challenge these days."
The latter statement immediately evoked scattered boos from those in attendance, and those boos eventually formed into a lengthy and deafening chorus of disapproval. Lummis was forced to temporarily pause her speech as she looked on in surprise at the audience's negative reaction.
"I'm not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes," she added in an attempt to assuage the crowd, but even that didn't seem to work. Eventually, the senator moved on from the topic entirely.
University of Wyoming Undergraduate Ceremony - Spring 2022 youtu.be
Several commenters on Twitter piled on after the event, bashing Lummis for bringing up the apparently controversial subject during the ceremony.
One commenter who claimed to be present to watch her niece graduate noted that it wasn't only students who booed Lummis, but the "entire audience" joined in.
"It was the most inappropriate place and time for a political rally type speech," the commenter added, suggesting, "My niece said, 'I just wanted to be told I'm smart and good luck!'"
Another claimed that some in the audience began chanting, "Shame!" in response to the senator's comments.
Following the backlash, Lummis issued a statement clarifying her remarks and apologizing to anyone who felt "un-welcomed or disrespected."
"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," the statement read, according to Oil City News.
"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," she said. "I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue."