Six of the seven women suing their sorority for allegedly coercing its members into inducting a transgender person revealed their names in open court Thursday.
One woman has dropped out of the lawsuit.
The six remaining plaintiffs are Jaylyn Westenbroek, Hannah Holtmeier, Allison Coghan, Grace Choate, Madeline Ramar and Megan Kosar.
Alleging sorority officers broke a contract with them and breached their fiduciary duty to the sorority itself, the women sued Kappa Kappa Gamma on March 27 for sorority leaders’ efforts to help induct transgender member Artemis Langford into the sorority’s University of Wyoming chapter last September.
Sorority leaders’ efforts betrayed the women’s understanding of what they were joining and the sorority’s own guiding documents, the lawsuit alleges.
No More Jane Doe
The women at first sued anonymously, all under the name “Jane Doe.”
U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson in two rulings responding to the women’s two separate requests for anonymity ordered the women to reveal their names if they wanted to continue the lawsuit.
The women have done so.
They also are suing Langford, hoping the court will void Langford’s sorority membership, but the women are not demanding monetary damages from Langford as they are from the Kappa Kappa Gamma organizaition.
Their new complaint also names Langford, although the original complaint gave the pseudonym “Terry Smith” instead, because the women said they also wanted to spare Langford of threats and attacks, and hope to see Langford treated with kindness and respect.
All the women are current University of Wyoming students and members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the lawsuit says.
The complaint says Westenbroek is a resident of Colorado, Holtmeier a resident of Nebraksa, Coghan is from Kansas, Choate is from Oklahoma, Ramar’s from Colorado and Kosar is a Virginia resident. Langford hails from Wyoming, Utah or Washington, the lawsuit says.
Witnesses On The Record
Witnesses who were anonymous in the first complaint have now also been named.
They are current members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, but are not plaintiffs in the action.
“No person told these witnesses that, if they became members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, they would be required to live in the sorority house and that men who claim to identify as women would also be able (to) reside in the house and have access to all private areas,” says the complaint.
They are barred from joining other sororities after joining Kappa, it adds.
Another witness said that Langford often “claims (when another) person disagrees with him (it is) because he is transgender," according to the lawsuit.
The witness "has observed Langford use his transgender identity to threaten others with discipline, especially those he believes do not support his Kappa membership,” the complaint alleges.
Another has on at least five occasions entered the sorority house to find Langford sitting alone in a chair in the living room, staring at women as they walk past. She and other sorority members have noticed an erection visible through Langford's leggings during these instances, the suit alleges.
With the same civil counts and requests before the court, the new complaint with the women’s names on it is generally the same as the one filed March 27. But there are a few slight changes.
The plaintiffs added a paragraph saying two members have asked that the sorority housing contract be modified to let women terminate their contracts if Langford moves in.
Housing contracts last a year, but permission to live away from the house is on a semester-by-semester basis, the suit says.
The Kappa Housing Corp. allegedly refused their request; however, the organization has granted Langford permission to live outside the sorority house for the coming semester because of “unspecified sorority concerns,” according to the lawsuit.
Langford lives in campus housing but visits the sorority often, the complaint says. The women continue to allege that Langford displays threatening, sexual and leering behavior toward house members. At least one of the women offered testimony that Langford submitted a blacklist to sorority leadership naming members who disagree with Langford’s induction.
“Plaintiffs are now required, as a condition of membership,” alleges the suit, “to reside in the same house as a 6’2”, 260-pound man who stares at them, asks about their intimate past, makes notes about their statements and takes photographs of them without their consent, and intimidates them by threatening to publicly label them bigots if they raise concerns.”
Langford has not responded to multiple requests for comment over the course of the lawsuit.
About 25 women have returned housing contracts for next year, the new complaint says, down from the 40 women who live there now.
Back At The House
Another new paragraph in the complaint says that Langford on April 6 – about a week after the women’s claims became public – requested a “standing excuse” against being required to attend Kappa events.
Langford extended the request April 9 to chapter meetings and other gatherings.
But on April 17, the lawsuit says, “Langford resumed his active presence at the sorority house."