The decade's most triggering comedy
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stumped the president of the Human Rights Campaign during a Wednesday hearing — with a yes-or-no question that most preschool-aged children could answer with no difficulty.
During a hearing titled “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans,” Cruz first asked HRC President Kelley Robinson whether she believed there was any difference between men and women – and when she failed multiple times to answer that question, he asked why she thought women had separate sports teams.
WATCH: The president of the Human Rights Campaign Kelley Robinson is unable to answer the simple question is there a difference between women and men under questioning from Sen. Ted Cruz.pic.twitter.com/iWu1WCkRgx
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) June 21, 2023
“Ms. Robinson, do you agree with Ms. [Riley] Gaines, that there’s a difference between women and men?” Cruz asked, referencing an answer given earlier in the hearing by former NCAA champion swimmer Riley Gaines.
“If the question is about trans women —” Robinson began, but Cruz interrupted.
“I’m just asking, is there a difference between women and men?” he repeated.
Robinson evaded the question again, saying, “What I can say is that the NCAA has rules in place, they’ve had rules in place for the last decade, and when this competition –”
“I’m going to try again,” Cruz interjected, delivering the question once again: “Do you believe there’s a difference between women and men? It’s a yes-no question. It – do you believe there’s a difference?”
“Well, I think that we’re talking about this case with the NCAA —” Robinson continued to pivot away from the question.
“No, I’m asking a question,” Cruz repeated. “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.”
“Oh, absolutely,” Robinson agreed, but continued to stonewall the Texas senator, attempting to reframe the debate instead of answering the direct question.
“I’m trying to get a yes or no, I’m not trying to get a speech,” Cruz said as Robinson claimed that definitions with regard to sex were separate from those with regard to gender. “Is there a difference between women and men?”
When Robinson ignored the question for a fifth time, saying again that gender had to be kept separate from sex, Cruz tried again with a different question.
“So you’re not answering that. Let me ask you this question then: why do women’s sports exist?” Cruz asked. “If you can’t define a difference between women and men, why not abolish women’s sports and tell little girls to swim with little boys and see who wins?”
“I’m simply saying that sex and gender —” Robinson picked up where she had left off, giving the same answers she had before, even though Cruz had changed the question.
“My question is why do women’s sports exist?” he asked again. “Ms. Robinson, please answer the question I’m asking you: Why do women’s sports exist?”
Robinson dodged that direct question as well, instead saying that she believed sports, in general, were beneficial and a positive influence on all who participated.
“But why have a separate category for women?” Cruz pressed again. “If there’s no difference between women and men, why have women’s sports?”
“I’m saying that there’s a difference between sex and gender, and that the NCAA has rules in place, which they have for the last decade,” Robinson tried again to reframe the question, but Cruz made it clear he had had enough.
He turned to Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and asked for a Duke University paper to be entered into the record. The paper was titled “COMPARING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCES THE BEST ELITE WOMEN TO BOYS AND MEN.”
“If you know sports, you know this beyond a reasonable doubt: there is an average 10-12% performance gap between elite males and elite females. The gap is smaller between elite females and non-elite males, but it’s still insurmountable and that’s ultimately what matters,” authors Doriane Lambelet Coleman and Wickliffe Shreve wrote.
The paper opened with two stark comparisons noting that in 2017 alone, “Olympic, World, and U.S. Champion Tori Bowie’s 100 meters lifetime best of 10.78 was beaten 15,000 times by men and boys.” In that same year, men and boys outperformed “Olympic, World, and U.S. Champion Allyson Felix’s 400 meters lifetime best of 49.26.”
“This differential isn’t the result of boys and men having a male identity, more resources, better training, or superior discipline. It’s because they have an androgenized body,” the authors concluded. “The results make clear that sex determines win share.”