Six UW Sorority Members Reveal Their Names in Lawsuit Over Transgender Member
Lawsuit against Kappa Kappa Gamma national headquarters will proceed
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Apr 21, 2023
Six of the seven University of Wyoming students who filed a lawsuit against the national Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority revealed their names in court on Thursday in order to keep their suit moving forward.
By Ellen Fike
Special to the Wyoming Truth
Six of the seven University of Wyoming students suing their national sorority’s headquarters disclosed their names on Thursday, allowing their lawsuit to proceed.
Jaylyn Westenbroek, Hannah Holtmeier, Allison Coghan, Grace Choate, Madeline Ramar and Megan Kosar’s identities were revealed in updated court filings on Thursday, days after a federal judge ruled they would have to do so to keep their suit moving forward. The seventh defendant was not named in the updated suit.
Judge Alan B. Johnson ruled last Friday that he would not allow the suit to proceed if the women did not reveal their identities.
“Plaintiffs…have not shown that they face ‘real, imminent personal danger’ sufficient to overcome the ‘public’s interest in open court proceedings,’” Johnson wrote in his ruling.
A 153-page lawsuit was filed by seven members of the UW’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority chapter on March 28 in U.S. District Court. It names the national Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority, its national council president and a recently inducted transgender member as defendants.
The updated court filing also named the transgender member as Artemis Langford, rather than by the pseudonym “Terry Smith” that was used when the suit was filed. Langford is still referred to as an adult male throughout the suit.
The plaintiffs allege that by allowing Langford to join the sorority, national chapter officials violated Kappa Kappa Gamma’s own bylaws, which state the organization is “single-gender.”
The plaintiffs oppose the chapter’s induction of Langford, claiming national KKG officials pressured the UW chapter to violate sorority rules, which call for only women to be inducted into the sorority.
The lawsuit claims that the sorority did not rely on its official bylaws in admitting Langford, but instead followed a sorority guide for supporting LGBTQIA members that stated Kappa Kappa Gamma is a single-gender organization that admits women and people who identify as women.
“Sorority representatives not only approved [Langford’s] membership, but national Sorority officials also encouraged chapter officers to pursue [Langford] and guided chapter officers in the illegal selection process,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, all chapter members must vote on candidates before they can be inducted into Kappa Kappa Gamma. The vote takes place using an electronic voting system on the application “Omega Recruit.” But in Langford’s case, not all chapter members voted, and the voting process took place through a public Google Poll, the lawsuit said.
Langford lives in a dorm on the UW campus. However, the time Langford has spent in the sorority house has made some members uncomfortable, the lawsuit states.
“[Langford] stares at women walking to the bathroom,” the lawsuit alleges. “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.”
According to the updated filing, Westenbroek and Fisher asked to terminate their housing contract with Kappa Kappa Gamma if Langford were to move into the sorority house.
The plaintiffs claim that one pledge told Choate she overheard Langford saying after her initiation that she “can’t wait to live in the house and sleep with all the girls.”
Some of the plaintiffs reached out to the national organization to express concerns about Langford living in the sorority house during the upcoming school year, according to the complaint, but they were allegedly dismissed and told if they were uncomfortable or concerned about their safety, they should quit the sorority altogether.
According to the lawsuit, “Langford’s current driver license states he is male and when he presented this official document in January 2023, Langford asserted that he was male. Langford wears women’s clothing only occasionally. He regularly travels about campus wearing baggy pants as would any other male student. Other than occasionally wearing women’s clothing, Langford makes little effort to resemble a woman.”
The women’s lawsuit also claim that they have noticed Langford become visibly aroused while watching the sorority sisters in their house.
Neither John Knepper nor Cassie Craven, the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, responded to a request for comment on Thursday.