Women sue University of Wyoming sorority for allowing trans-identified male to join

Seven past and present members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority are bringing legal action against the sisterhood after it made the decision to allow a trans-identified male to join the University of Wyoming chapter.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

Seven past and present members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority are bringing legal action against the sisterhood after it made the decision to allow a trans-identified male to join the University of Wyoming chapter.

According to the legal document filed to the US District Court for Wyoming Monday obtained by Cowboy State Daily, Artemis Langford, the trans-identified male admitted to the female-only chapter, has not undergone any medical intervention, has been watching the young women in states of undress, and has even been observed to be sexually aroused in their presence.

“An adult human male does not become a woman just because he tells others that he has a female ‘gender identity’ and behaves in what he believes to be a stereotypically female manner,” reads a legal complaint, that refers to Langford throughout using male pronouns.

“The Fraternity Council has betrayed the central purpose and mission of Kappa Kappa Gamma by conflating the experience of being a woman with the experience of men engaging in behavior generally associated with women.”

While Langford doesn’t yet live in the sorority house, the complaint states that the individual spends a significant amount of time there.

The doors to the sorority house’s communal bathrooms do not lock, the legal document explains, and the primary bathroom on the second floor does not have a private area to undress before showering.

“Plaintiffs and other sorority members describe the second floor as a private, safe space where young women can interact without concern that they will be on display for men,” reads the legal complaint.

Though Langford doesn’t live in the house, the trans-identified male often will sit on the sofa in the common area, not studying, and watches the women, the lawsuit alleges.  

“One sorority member walked down the hall to take a shower, wearing only a towel,” says the lawsuit. “She felt an unsettling presence, turned, and saw Mr. Smith watching her silently.”

Langford, who is referred to as Smith in the legal document, is 21 years old, is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 260 pounds, the document says, adding, “No other member of Kappa Kappa Gamma has comparable size or strength.” 

Langford is “sexually interested in women,” the lawsuit alleges, adding that “Smith” has a Tinder profile “through which he seeks to meet women.”

“Mr. Smith has, while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings,” the complaint continues. “Other times, he has had a pillow in his lap.”  

According to the legal document, Langford has “not undergone treatments to create a more feminine appearance.”

Langford’s inclusion in the traditionally female-only sisterhood made headlines at the time, attracting widespread criticism. It was reported that Langford was accepted by majority vote, but the lawsuit points out that national sorority officials did away with the secret voting process required by sorority rules and the legal document alleges that several members would have voted against Langford’s inclusion if the voting had been anonymous.

The complaint alleges that women were told beforehand that they could only vote against Langford if they could articulate specific concerns about Langford’s personality.

“If members had not met Mr. Smith, then a ‘no’ vote was evidence that the member was a bigot,” reads the complaint, which explains that bigotry is grounds for expulsion. 

The UW chapter was said to be under pressure from national supervisors to induct a trans-identified male member as a way to raise the chapter’s prominence and gain favor from the national sorority leaders, says the complaint.

Seven anonymous women who are current and past members of the UW sorority chapter filed the lawsuit via their attorneys, John Knepper and Cassie Craven, against the Ohio-based Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, the organization’s council president, Mary Pat Rooney, Kappa Kappa Gamma Building Co. in Wyoming, and “Terry Smith,” which is a pseudonym for Langford.

The sorority, which was founded by women for women in 1870, drew up a guide for supporting LGBTQIA+ members in 2018, updated in 2021, which states that in an effort to be inclusive, the sorority would now allow into its ranks "women and individuals who identify as women."

"Kappa Kappa Gamma is a single-gender organization comprised of women and individuals who identify as women," reads the guide. 

Members are given tips on how to be a good ally, which includes always referring to people by their chosen names and pronouns, and not making or perpetuating "assumptions about someone’s … gender identity." Members are also told to use words that encompass "all genders," with examples such as "'people of all genders' instead of 'women and men,'" and "'children' instead of 'boys and girls.’”

"Our Greek life here on campus, and I think nationwide as well, offers so many resources and so many opportunities and I am really glad that people can partake in that and be welcomed and not afraid they’ll be rejected," Langford told the student newspaper the Branding Iron after being admitted to the female-only group. "Things that shouldn’t matter like what their identity is or what their orientation is or what the color of their skin is."


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