Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stumped Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson during a congressional hearing on Wednesday after Cruz asked her if she could explain the difference between women and men.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Wednesday about LGBT issues which featured Robinson and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines. During the hearing, Gaines detailed her experience competing against a male swimmer, prompting Cruz to ask Robinson to respond to Gaines’ testimony.
Cruz first spoke to Gaines and asked, “as someone who competed at the elite level, in your experiences, is there a difference between women and men?”.
Gaines responded by saying, “Of course, I think we learned this at a very young age, watching even 12-and-unders play. Going through puberty causes irreversible advantage that no matter the training, no matter the diet, no matter any alterable change you can make, will overcome that male advantage, especially in sports like swimming, where lung capacity matters so much,” she said.
Cruz then pivoted to Robinson and asked, “Do you agree with Miss Gaines that there’s a difference between women and men?” “If the question is about trans women,” Robinson began. “I’m just asking, is there a difference between women and men?” Cruz asked again.
“What I can say is that the NCAA has rules in place. They’ve had rules in place for the last decade,” Robinson said. Cruz pressed Robinson further. “No, I’m asking a question. Do you believe there’s a difference between women and men, most people could answer this very simply, I’m curious if you’re willing to do so.”
“I think that there are definitions related to sex,” Robinson said. “Is that a yes? I’m trying to get a yes or no. I’m not trying to get a speech,” Cruz said.
Robinson’s organization, The Human Rights Campaign, recently declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ Americans, saying that “We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year.”
Gaines was a swimmer for the University of Kentucky and gained media attention after competing against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championships.
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