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By Sarah Holliday
The Washington Stand

Sisterhood takes on a whole new meaning when biological men get thrown into the mix — a reality the sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Wyoming know well. In October 2022, the college chapter accepted their first transgender-identifying member. The six-foot-two, 260-pound biological male was excited to “make history,” as the “sister” shared after he joined the sorority. However, since 2022, there’s been a lengthy string of responses that do not express any similar kind of excitement.

A lawsuit came quickly in the early months of 2023 after several reports of a new male member, Artemis Langford, getting “aroused” as he watched the sorority members undress. One report stated he often “had an erection visible through his leggings.” Additionally, Langford commonly asked the women heavily private and intimate questions about their bodies. But despite these concerns, the lawsuit filed by six sisters was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for Wyoming in August. But the case continued after the ladies, not ready to give up protecting women-only spaces, filed an appeal this week.

However, through the back-and-forth arguments concerning whether this man should be able to be in the women’s sorority, it became evident that “the heart of this case,” as the sisters included in a December brief, was the question of what defines a woman. The statement read:

“The question at the heart of this case is the definition of ‘woman,’ a term that Kappa has used since 1870 to prescribe membership, in Kappa’s governing documents. Using any conceivable tool of contractual interpretation, the term refers to biological females. And yet, the district court avoided this inevitable conclusion by applying the wrong law and ignoring the factual assertions in the complaint.”

But since 2022, it appears the chapter has made little progress in their case. Judge Alan Johnson, who dismissed the case in August 2023, ruled that redefining the term “woman” was “Kappa Kappa Gamma’s bedrock right as a private, voluntary organization — and one this Court may not invade.” He also refused to define what a woman is. Langford himself made the argument that “identity” and “orientation” are aspects that “shouldn’t matter,” and he went on to proclaim, “I just hope that they’d see me as the person I am and not the ideology that they perceive me as.” But as observers have noted, it’s who he is that is making women uncomfortable in spaces “where young women can interact without concern that they will be on display for men.”

To elaborate, Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, commented to The Washington Stand, “When I first became aware of this issue in 2015, the ‘Seven Sisters’ [college organization] had already been admitting men who identified as women.” She explained how, during that timeframe, “Some sororities had already changed their policies to admit … people who identify as women. Whether that was happening was not easy to determine, but we knew that no one was talking about it or complaining about it.”

And according to Kilgannon, it was a long time before people started speaking out against what was happening. But “now finally,” she said, “almost 10 years later, students in Wyoming are defending their rights to have membership in a sorority that allows only women, not also people who ‘identify’ as women.” She added, “These young women have been made uncomfortable because a man is trying to imitate being a woman in their private spaces in the sorority house,” and they have decided they’ve had enough.

Kilgannon concluded, “I hope the court will not take the easy way out by dismissing the case or failing to rule on the important question at its heart: what is a woman?”

Originally published at The Washington Stand!


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