National Kappa Kappa Gamma Officials, Transgender Member Ask Court to Dismiss UW Sorority Suit

In a 30-page filing, defendants call lawsuit ‘confusing,’ ‘irrelevant’

Through her attorney, Artemis Langford asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six women against the University of Wyoming's chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Langford, a transgender student who made national headlines upon joining the sorority last fall, is one of the defendants. (Photo credit: Facebook/Artemis Langford)

By Ellen Fike

Special to the Wyoming Truth

All of the defendants involved in a lawsuit regarding the admission of a transgender student into a University of Wyoming sorority have asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.

In their first response to the initial lawsuit filed in late March, attorneys for the national Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) Fraternity, fraternity council president Mary Pat Rooney and Wyoming-based Kappa Kappa Gamma Building Co., asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit against them for a variety of reasons, including a lack of jurisdiction.

“Rather than accept the results of their chapter’s decision to admit [Artemis Langford, a transgender woman], Plaintiffs bring sorority recruitment into this Court and ask that it declare her membership void…,” the response, filed this week, stated. 

Artemis Langford, the transgender student who made national headlines last fall upon joining the sorority, also filed a motion to dismiss separately from the other defendants.

“Ms. Langford exemplifies the best of what a Wyoming woman is,” according to Langford’s response, which was filed on Tuesday. “Yet she has been dragged before this Court to defend herself against claims which do not require any party to name her personally or to wield repackaged versions of the same vicious rumors that have been used to vilify the transgender community for ages.” 

In their suit, the seven sorority members argued that Kappa officials violated the sorority’s bylaws by allowing Langford to join its ranks. The initial suit refers to Langford as an adult male.

The women filed the lawsuit anonymously, but a federal judge ultimately ruled all parties involved in the lawsuit would have to reveal their names in order for the suit to proceed. Six of the seven women proceeded to publicly disclose their names on the suit: Jaylyn Westenbroek, Hannah Holtmeier, Allison Coghan, Grace Choate, Madeline Ramar and Megan Kosar.

Kappa defendants argued this week that the plaintiffs’ claims were baseless and suggested they could leave the organization.

“Plaintiffs are asking this Court to decide who can and who cannot join a private fraternal organization,” the defendants’ motion to dismiss stated. “They implore this court not only to void Langford’s membership, but also to prohibit any transgender woman from joining Kappa.”

The defendants also argued in their response there is no Kappa bylaw defining who qualifies as a woman and that the organization has allowed transgender women to join since 2015.

‘Baseless and irrelevant’ claims

Officials of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by six members of the University of Wyoming chapter who oppose the admission of transgender student Artemis Langford. 

Despite the plaintiffs’ claim they felt unsafe at the possibility of Langford moving into the sorority house, Langford’s attorney pointed out in the separate filing that Kappa officials granted her an exemption from living in the house.

In her response, Langford’s attorney disclosed a letter from Kappa headquarters to the UW chapter’s members and advisors, confirming sorority leaders exempted her from the sorority’s live-in requirement for the 2023-24 school year. 

The plaintiffs, who shared their story on the Fox News Channel’s “Ingraham Angle” in May, claim in their suit that national Kappa officials pressured the UW chapter to violate sorority rules, which call for only women to be inducted into the sorority.

Kappa attorneys also pointed out that the plaintiffs’ legal counsel only contacted officials once — in November 2022 — prior to filing the lawsuit four months later. In their letter, the attorneys explained why the women had an issue with transgender women, and specifically Langford, joining the sorority.

Kappa officials claimed in a letter that they had no involvement in Langford’s admission into the UW chapter and do not overrule membership decisions when current members or alumni take issue with it.

“The end goal of the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit is clear,” the Kappa defendants’ response stated. “They do not like that their sorority chapter inducted a transgender member or that Kappa did not overturn the chapter’s decision, so they ask the Court to declare Langford’s membership void…and in doing so, tell a private fraternal organization whom it can and cannot accept as a member at any of its more than 145 chapters.” 

Meanwhile, Langford’s attorney called the plaintiffs’ questioning of her supposed femininity “jabs.”

“Included in the muddle of irrelevant allegations are philosophical arguments over what it means to be a woman (are) … insulting jabs at Ms. Langford’s physical appearance … allegations from wholly unrelated lawsuits (and) Ms. Langford’s alleged GPA,” the court filing stated.

The three Kappa defendants argued if the judge were to dismiss the suit, it would establish the women’s claims are baseless and show their supporters or others who may file politically-charged lawsuits that funding “frivolous” lawsuits is not the way to resolve arguments or make a change.

“It may also be the first step in allowing Kappa and the [Laramie] chapter to begin rebuilding from the significant harm that Plaintiffs and their supporters have unleashed on this organization and chapter they profess to love,” the response concluded.

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