Sisters at University of Wyoming Sorority Demand Court Clearly Define “Woman” In Appeal To Have Trans-Identified Male Removed, Claim He Filmed Them Without Consent

The female complainants at the center of a lawsuit to have a trans-identified male removed from a sorority at the University of Wyoming have re-filed their appeal, demanding the court clearly define the word “woman.” Artemis Langford, previously known as Dallin, was accepted into Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) last September, spurring several women to file a lawsuit to have him removed.

In August, the case of Westenbroek v. Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity was dismissed on the basis that re-defining “woman” to include males was “Kappa Kappa Gamma’s bedrock right.” Despite hearing testimony from the women, some of whom stated Langford had “watched” them undress with an erection, Judge Alan Johnson rejected the women’s request to rescind Langford’s admission into the sorority.

However, on December 4, the young women filed an appeal to have the dismissal reversed, arguing that Langford’s presence in the sorority house “caused emotional distress in a personalized and unique way,” and demanding that the court clearly define the word “woman.”

In the appeal, the women reassert that Langford displayed “strange and sexual behavior” towards them, and caused them a level of discomfort and anxiety amounting to personal injury. It reiterates claims that Langford had been filming and photographing the women without their consent and had displayed a visible erection while in the house.

“Specifically, Langford’s unwanted staring, photographing, and videotaping of the Plaintiffs, as well as his asking questions about sex and displaying a visible erection while in the house, invaded Plaintiffs’ privacy and caused emotional distress in a personalized and unique way. And thus Plaintiffs have pleaded a viable direct claim. This Court should therefore reverse the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ derivative and direct claims,” the appeal reads.

Some of the allegations are a reiteration of previous claims, which Langford’s attorney, Rachel Berkness, has attempted to portray as both false and discriminatory during court proceedings. In June, Berkness filed a motion to dismiss the sorority women’s claims against Langford as “frivolous and malicious,” stating: “The allegations against Ms. Langford … were borne out of a hypothesis in search of evidence and pieced together using drunken party stories. Ms. Langford is not a victim; she is a target.”

The initial suit, filed at the end of March, had asserted that Langford, who is 6’2″, had been voyeuristically peeping on the women while they were in intimate situations, and, on at least one occasion, had a visible erection while doing so.

“One sorority member walked down the hall to take a shower, wearing only a towel … She felt an unsettling presence, turned, and saw [Langford] watching her silently,” the court document reads.

“[Langford] has, while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings,” the suit says. “Other times, he has had a pillow in his lap.”

As evidenced by his Tinder profile, Langford is “sexually interested in women.” It was further stated in that Langford took photographs of the women while at a sorority slumber party, where he also is said to have made inappropriate comments.

“At a slumber party, Langford ‘repeatedly questioned the women about what vaginas look like, [and] breast cup size,’ and stared as one Plaintiff changed her clothes,” reads the appeal. “Langford also talked about his virginity and discussed at what age it would be appropriate for someone to have sex… And he stated that he would not leave one of the sorority’s sleepovers until after everyone fell asleep.”

Langford was also said to have taken pictures of female members “without their knowledge or consent.” Some of the women noted that they had “observed Langford writing detailed notes about [the students] and their statements and behavior.”

In May, a judge twice prohibited the women from suing anonymously, while stipulating that Langford’s identity should remain protected. Langford was referred to by the pseudonym “Terry Smith” and male pronouns in the legal documents. Six of the women then refiled the lawsuit under their own names, and are requesting that the court void Langford’s membership in KKG.

“It is really uncomfortable. Some of the girls have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. Some girls live in constant fear in our home,” one of the sisters, Hannah, told Megyn Kelly during an interview on her podcast.

Rather than addressing the privacy and safety concerns of the women in KKG, who had each paid $8,000 to live in the sorority house, “Kappa officials recommended that … they should quit Kappa Kappa Gamma entirely.”

In June, the sorority filed a motion to dismiss the suit, calling it a “frivolous” attempt to eject Langford for “their own political purposes.” According to the motion, the women suing were flinging “dehumanizing mud” in order to “bully Ms. Langford on the national stage.” The sorority invited the women to resign their membership “if a position of inclusion is too offensive for their personal values.”

In the motion, lawyers for Kappa Kappa Gamma attempted to depict the suit as an attempt by “a vocal minority” to impose their views on Langford and the rest of the sorority members.

“Perhaps the greatest wrongs in this case are not the ones Plaintiffs and their supporters imagine they have suffered, but the ones that they have inflicted through their conduct since filing the Complaint,” they wrote. “Regardless of personal views on the rights of transgender people, the cruelty that Plaintiffs and their supporters have shown towards Langford and anyone in Kappa who supports Langford is disturbing.”

The recent appeal against the suit’s dismissal, filed on behalf of the young women by Sylvia May Mailman of the Independent Women’s Law Center, the Law Office of John G. Knepper, Schaerr Jaffe LLP, and Cassie Craven of Longhorn Law firm, details several alleged violations of the sorority sisters’ rights, as well as KKG’s own policies.

“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,” the appeal states. “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.”

It goes on to note that from 1870 to 2018, KKG defined “woman” to exclude “transgender women” and that any new definition may not be enacted without a KKG bylaw amendment.

Numerous examples are given of rules put forward by the sorority which use the term “woman,” with the attorneys maintaining that “‘woman’ is not an ambiguous term open to an evolving interpretation.”

KKG leaders who approved Langford’s membership have “subverted Kappa’s mission and governing documents by changing the definition of ‘woman’ without following the required processes.” Kappa President Mary Pat Rooney’s legal team has argued that Langford’s admission into the sorority was based on a 2015 position statement which asserts that KKG “is a single-gender organization comprised of women and individuals who identify as women.”

However, the women’s legal appeal points out that KKG can only change its membership criteria by amending its Bylaws, a process which requires a two-thirds majority approval vote by a Convention of board members. As a Convention to amend Bylaws to reflect the position statement was never held, the appeal states, Langford’s acceptance into KKG is a violation of accepted policies.

KKG leadership is also accused of using “coercive” tactics during the process of voting Langford into the organization in September 2022. After an initial anonymous vote conducted via Google poll failed to result in Langford’s acceptance into the sorority, Chapter leaders developed a second, non-anonymous voting system in which multiple sisters changed their votes because of “fear of reprisal.”

In addition to denying women anonymity, Wyoming chapter officials, after consultation with Kappa’s leadership, had told members that voting against Langford’s admission was evidence of “bigotry” that “is a basis for suspension or expulsion from the Sorority.”

Curiously, prior court documents also reveal that Langford was admitted to KKG despite not even meeting their basic academic eligibility requirements. 

While KKG requires applicants to have a 2.7 Grade Point Average (GPA), Langford only had a 1.9 at the time he submitted his membership request, and was not on a grade probation. The legal complaint notes that this indicates Langford’s application was “evaluated using a different standard.”

In November, two longstanding alumni members of KKG revealed they had been expelled in an apparent retaliation for advocating that membership be restricted to females only. Patsy Levang and Cheryl Tuck-Smith had been members of the sorority for over 50 years, and had contributed to fundraising efforts for the organization.

Despite their long history of supporting KKG, Levang and Tuck-Smith were voted out by the sorority’s national leadership on November 9. Levang had been the past Kappa Kappa Gamma National Foundation President, while Tuck-Smith was an active contributor and organizer.

The women’s removal came after they had been vocally opposed to the admission of Langford to the KKG chapter at the University of Wyoming, and had supported a lawsuit launched by members of that sorority to have him removed.

Since news of the lawsuit first became widely circulated, Langford has received ample sympathetic coverage in mainstream media, with one MSNBC host labeling him “brave and unique.” In a recent profile by the Washington Post, Langford was given a platform to accuse the sorority sisters involved in the suit of lying while being compared to women who had historically been denied the right to a basic education.

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Genevieve Gluck

Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.

Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.