Society has drastically changed, and this is nowhere more apparent than it is with college students. An example: An honorary address was recently met with boos after a speech on the University of Wyoming campus. Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis was orating at the graduation ceremony of her school when she was sucked into dangerous territory. The state's first woman U.S. senator escaped unharmed. But at the close, amid the celebration of America, she did something boldly biological:
“And lastly, you woke up this morning with more individual freedom in the most creative, divinely-inspired nation on Earth. The transformations and disruptions I have alluded to are testing those very freedoms… [T]here are those in government who believe, not that the Creator endowed us with inalienable rights as the founders of our nation acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, but that government created those rights. And that 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.”
If she felt she was subject to contention, the crowd affirmed that assertion. Boos rang loudly. Then: More boos. After that, more boos.
Cynthia tried to save herself. “You know, I, uh, and I challenge those of you–I'm not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes.”
It was ugly, indeed. In spite of the crowd’s opposition, she hit on the pandemic, to a chorus of applause. “I personally question how, under our Constitution, we could forbid in-person worship services during a pandemic while labeling liquor stores as essential and keeping them open (clapping recommences). And how the creation of a government disinformation board is not an affront to free speech (mild handclaps are heard).”
Recent headlines add to the discussion: “Harvard Professor Reminds You There Are Two Genders, Colleague Is ‘Appalled,'” “Professor Is Kicked Out of Neuroscience Group After Suggesting There Are Two Males and Females,” “Biology Class at High School Teaches that Biological Sex Is a Social Construct,” “Report: Three Middle School Students Have Been Charged with Sexual Harassment, For Not Using ‘They/Them' Pronouns.”
To Senator Lummis, the interruptions she was subjected to reveal a shift in young people in two different ways. Of course, previous audiences would have accepted that there were only females and males. In addition, modern teenagers are taught to scream down any opposition. In the 1980s, for instance, if a commencement speech had declared that there were five different genders, the students would have looked at one another and then shrugged. In reality, it’s not certain what remarks from the podium might have sparked boos among older generations of twenty-somethings. In these times, it's a hard-hitting crowd.
Whatever the case, Texas Democratic State Rep. James Talarico has made clear that the assertion of five males is just as untrue as Cynthia's boasting of two.