A recent lawsuit filed by six members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at the University of Wyoming was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson. The suit was brought against the sorority after a transgender woman, Artemis Langford, was accepted into the traditionally all-female group.
The judge ruled that the sorority’s bylaws do not define what a “woman” is, and that it was not the court’s place to interfere with the organization’s freedom of association.
The plaintiffs, who initially filed the lawsuit under pseudonyms, were ordered by Judge Johnson to reveal their real names if they wished to continue the case. Despite six of the seven women complying with this order, the case was ultimately dismissed.
Johnson pointed out in his ruling that not only had the local chapter voted to admit Langford, but also the wider sorority organization, which has more than 250,000 members across the United States and Canada.
The plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit that living in the same house as Langford had caused them discomfort and distress, alleging inappropriate behavior on Langford’s part. For instance, one plaintiff alleged that Langford, “while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings … Other times, he has had a pillow in his lap.” However, Langford’s attorney, Rachel Berkness, dismissed these accusations as baseless and cruel rumors.
The executive director of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kari Kittrell Poole, stated that the sorority does not discriminate based on gender identity. She also claimed that the lawsuit contained numerous false allegations, though she did not specify which these were.