A plaintiff and graduate of the University of Wyoming said she would keep fighting to ‘protect women’s spaces’ after a case against her sorority about the admittance of a transgender member was dismissed.
Allison Coghan and six of her sorority sisters – some current students – sued Kappa Kappa Gamma’s national organization in March over the inclusion of 21-year-old Artemis Langford in the house.
Members of the sorority alleged a number of issues in the suit, including Langford had ‘been voyeuristically peeping on them while they were in intimate situations.’
Last week, a judge ruled no policies had been violated by allowing the student to join KKG, and dismissed the case and he wasn’t going to decide the definition of a woman.
On Tuesday evening, Coghan told Fox News host Laura Ingraham she was ‘very disappointed,’ but not ‘that surprised’ by the decision.
‘Honestly, I don’t think any of us were that surprised, but we are not done fighting. We are here….we started it, and we are going finish it,’ she said.
A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by University of Wyoming sorority sisters contesting the admission of a transgender woman – Artemis Langford (pictured) – whom they accused of being a sexual predator
Coghan continued: ‘If anything, it has just made us want to fight a lot harder just because this is something that we need to fight for and it is so much bigger than just this one chapter, this one person that’s involved. This could go out for women’s sports or anything. We just need to be able to protect women’s spaces.’
The suit alleged Langford violated KKG policies by joining the sorority despite not being a woman, or making an effort to look like one.
The plaintiffs argued ‘sorority leaders’ efforts betrayed the women’s understanding of what they were joining and the sorority’s own guiding documents.’
In the ruling, the judge – Alan Johnson, a University of Wyoming graduate – wrote: ‘The University of Wyoming chapter voted to admit – and, more broadly, a sorority of hundreds of thousands approved – Langford. With its inquiry beginning and ending there, the Court will not define ‘woman’ today.
‘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.’
Multiple sorority members took part in the suit, though the national organization itself filed a motion to dismiss the case in June.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Cassy Craven, told Ingraham the judge’s refusal to engage on the question of how we define a woman is an indication that the threat of the erasure of women is growing.
‘We are prepared with a litany of additional legal filings and this increased retaliation by headquarters will not be allowed to stand,’ she said.
‘It is interesting that we can’t define women in a court of law. But this really is not about defining women anymore. This is about erasing women.
‘Now it appears that being a woman is nothing more than a clever game of semantics. And that one can just decide that one is a woman. And along with that, comes all the entitlements.’
In the lawsuit, members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority chapter challenged Artemis Langford’s (rear, far left) admission by casting doubt on whether sorority rules allow a transgender woman into the organization
An attorney for the sorority sisters, Cassie Craven, said by email they disagreed with the ruling and the fundamental issue – the definition of a woman – remains undecided
The sisters alleged Langford harassed the women who lived in the sorority house by silently watching some of them as they moved to and from the house showers in nothing but towels.
They also provided evidence from Langford’s Tinder profile that the student is ‘sexually interested in women.’
Furthermore, according to the suit, Langford has ‘repeatedly questioned the women about what vaginas look like, breast cup size, whether women were considering breast reductions and birth control.’
The women alleged Langford would stare at the other girls for hours without saying anything, while sitting with a pillow in her lap.
They also accused her of taking photos of the girls at a slumber party.
One young woman alleged she once saw Langford staring at her while she changed. Langford had ‘his hands over his genitals’ and appeared sexually aroused, said the young woman – though the validity of this claim has since been called into question.
Coghan said on Fox: ‘It is very important for us especially during those years of our life to have a comfortable spot where we can learn and grow together in a safe environment where we don’t have to deal with outside pressures.’
‘And we’re going to keep fighting for that.’
Langford’s lawyer, Rachel Berkness, addressed the judge’s ruling in a statement to the New York Post: ‘The allegations against Ms. Langford should never have made it into a legal filing.’
‘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.’
At the heart of the lawsuit was the issue of defining a ‘woman’, as the sorority sisters argued that because KKG’s governing documents define it as a space exclusively for females, the organization broke its own rules by admitting a biological male
One member said that she was called a ‘bigot and a transphobe’ for not wanting to shower and sleep with Langford in the same area
At the heart of the lawsuit was the issue of defining a ‘woman’, with the sorority sisters arguing that because KKG’s governing documents define it as a space exclusively for females, the organization broke its own rules by admitting a biological male.
The sisters claimed the sorority changed its criteria to allow Langford to apply, while KKG’s lawyers said the definition of ‘woman’ has evolved since the sorority’s founding 150 years ago.
‘The term (woman) is unquestionably open to many interpretations,’ the sorority’s filing claimed.
Although the plaintiffs offered a definition in their lawsuit as an ‘adult human female’, KKG said this was restrictive, and were seeking to dismiss on the basis of changing views around what constitutes a ‘woman.’