Republican U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming has issued an apology following the transphobic remarks she made while giving a commencement address at the University of Wyoming.
During her remarks, she stated that the idea there are only "two sexes" is a "fundamental scientific truth," drawing immediate boos from the audience.
Lummis offered an apology via her spokesperson, who said the senator apologizes to anyone who felt "un-welcomed or disrespected" by her comments, Oil City News reports.
"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. "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."
During her commencement address, Lummis's remarks turned to the topic of how constitutional rights are under attack. "There are those in government who believe not that the creator endowed us with inalienable rights ... but that government created those rights," she said. "And the government should redefine those rights, including our rights to freedom of speech, religion, property, assembly, and to keep and bear arms. Even fundamental scientific truths -- such as the existence of two sexes, male and female -- are subject to challenge these days." When the crowd reacted with loud boos and jeering, Lummis smiled awkwardly and tried to wave the reaction away. "I challenge those of you. I'm not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes," she said, before moving on.
Following the commencement speech, University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel released a statement about Lummis's remarks, without specifically naming her.
"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 that collectively make us the wonderful place that we are."