The University of Wyoming women suing their sorority for its role in admitting a transgender member are speaking out publicly, saying they want to fight for women’s rights and women’s spaces.
Jaylyn Westenbroek, Hannah Holtmeier and Elizabeth Renkert gave an interview Monday to conservative YouTube journalist Megyn Kelly about their lawsuit against the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Westenbroek and Holtmeier are plaintiffs in the suit, and Renkert is a key witness.
They are alleging that the sorority’s national chapter urged the Wyoming chapter to induct transgender member Artemis Langford by coercing the female members to vote for Langford.
“It felt like our values and our concerns weren’t valued,” Westenbroek told Kelly during the interview. “And that’s why I’m here today, because I want to stand up for women’s spaces. This is the women’s rights fight for our generation.”
Many of the sorority house residents are uncomfortable living with Langford, who stands 6-foot-2, and weighs about 260 pounds, the women said.
Some members have survived sexual assault or sexual harassment in their pasts, said Westenbroek.
The women emphasized the value of having private, women’s spaces, as well as a sisterhood.
“Our house is our home just like anyone else’s home,” added Holtmeier. “You go home at the end of the day to feel comfortable and relax in your own skin.”
Langford did not respond Tuesday afternoon to a message requesting comment.
Kelly tried to push the women to discuss some of the more shocking allegations in the complaint.
For example, the lawsuit alleges that Langford watched one of the women change her shirt when she had no bra on. It also alleges that Langford sometimes watches the women “with an erection visible through his leggings.”
Cassie Craven, one of the attorneys for the women, pushed back, saying they included “some of those salacious allegations” in the lawsuit to demonstrate that a “biological male” cannot appropriate womanhood.
“Being a woman is about more than a pronoun and putting on lipstick,” said Craven. “There are real biological impacts at play. And that’s why this case is so important.”
The case is unique.
While many lawsuits involving transgender issues invoke federal civil rights laws, this one alleges that Kappa Kappa Gamma breached its own contracts, which say only women can be sorority members.
This lawsuit could compel the court or a jury to define the word “woman” for the judicial system.
Craven said it’s also about the right to disagree with others and to give women a voice.
“We can’t just go with the flow and engage in this individual’s delusion,” said Craven. “I can think of nothing more misogynistic than a biological man telling me how to feel about his erection.”
Kelly asked the women whether they believe Langford has true gender dysphoria or is just “getting off” on being surrounded by the young women in their intimate living space.
Craven said they couldn’t know that for sure.
She said she empathizes with the difficult situation the sorority controversy has put Langford in and believes there are larger social forces at play.
“I can’t help but wonder, is he a pawn in some larger scheme?” said Craven. “I can’t help but call into question where that drive comes from.”
Kelly encouraged the women, saying “this is how change happens.”
After the women filed their lawsuit in March, they asked the U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson in two separate filings to let them proceed anonymously under pseudonyms. They also hoped Langford could stay anonymous.
Johnson denied those requests, saying the suit is of high public interest and that interest is not outweighed by the more intimate issues.
One of the plaintiffs dropped out of the suit before the women’s deadline to disclose their names.
But now that their names are in the public sphere, the women are speaking out. They also have an interview scheduled for Tuesday night on Fox News.
“I know it’s hard,” said Kelly. “But taking great risks is a great thing”
Kelly encouraged the women to resist what she called a trend of “tolerance for everyone except you. Tolerance for the biological men but not you — not the biological women.”
Clair McFarland may be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com