A lawsuit filed by sorority members at the University of Wyoming to block a transgender woman from joining has been dismissed by a judge — despite allegations the student was a “sexual predator” who got physically aroused around them.
Since the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority bylaws do not define what a “woman” is, Wyoming US District Court Judge Alan Johnson ruled he could not proceed forward with the lawsuit and dismissed the matter on Friday, according to reports.
“With its inquiry beginning and ending there, the court will not define a ‘woman’ today,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson ruled that a federal court could not interfere with the sorority chapter’s freedom of association by ruling against its vote to induct trans student Artemis Langford last year.
“The University of Wyoming chapter voted to admit — and, more broadly, a sorority of hundreds of thousands approved — Langford,” Johnson wrote in his ruling.
“The delegate of a private, voluntary organization interpreted ‘woman,’ otherwise undefined in the nonprofit’s bylaws, expansively; this Judge may not invade Kappa Kappa Gamma’s freedom of expressive association and inject the circumscribed definition Plaintiffs urge.”
Rachel Berkness, Langford’s attorney, welcomed the court’s ruling.
“The allegations against Ms. Langford should never have made it into a legal filing,” Berkness said in an email to the Associated Press.
“They are nothing more than cruel rumors that mirror exactly the type of rumors used to vilify and dehumanize members of the LGBTQIA+ community for generations. And they are baseless,” Berkness said in an email.”
The case at Wyoming’s only four-year public university garnered national attention as ongoing issues over the years involving transgender rights for students in schools and athletics have sparked major debate nationwide.
Six members of the university’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority filed the lawsuit in March against the national sorority organization, its national council president, and Langford — who joined their chapter in September 2022.
The sorority members were seeking to have a judge void Langford’s Kappa Kappa Gamma membership and award unspecified damages.
Kari Kittrell Poole, the executive director of the sorority, told the Associated Press in May that the lawsuit “contains numerous false allegations” without specifying them.
She added that Kappa Kappa Gamma, which has over 250,000 members in 140 chapters across the United States and Canada, does not discriminate against gender identity.
The lawsuit alleged that members felt uneasy around Langford — identified under the male pseudonym Terry Smith in the suit — with one member allegedly witnessing Langford get physically aroused.
“Mr. Smith has, while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings,” the suit claimed. “Other times, he has had a pillow in his lap.”
Berkness shared that claims about her client’s behavior and being labeled a “sexual predator” were nothing more than a “drunken rumor” following the suit’s dismissal.
The six sorority members told Megyn Kelly on her podcast in May that they “live in constant fear in our home” with Langford present and that the trans student would stare at women without talking for hours.
“It is seriously an only-female space. It is so different than living in the dorms, for instance, where men and women can commingle on the floors. That is not the case in a sorority house. We share just a couple of main bathrooms on the upstairs floor,” a member, not identified by name, told Kelly.
Cassie Craven, an attorney representing the sorority sisters, said her clients disagree with the ruling — and, more importantly, that the sorority chapter lacks a proper definition of who should be classified as a woman.
“Women have a biological reality that deserves to be protected and recognized, and we will continue to fight for that right just as women suffragists for decades have been told that their bodies, opinions, and safety doesn’t matter,” Craven wrote in an email to the outlet.
It’s unclear if Kappa Kappa Gamma plans on changing its bylaws to adequately define what a woman is for potential issues in the future.
With Post wires