450 Kappa Sorority Sisters Side With UW Women Against Transgender Member

A group of 450 Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority sisters have filed a court argument this week backing six University of Wyoming sisters in their appeal against the sorority for admitting a transgender member at the UW chapter.

Clair McFarland

December 15, 20233 min read

The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house in Laramie, Wyoming.
The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house in Laramie, Wyoming. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

More than 450 Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority sisters filed an argument this week backing six of their sisters in their appeal against the sorority over its induction of a transgender member at the University of Wyoming chapter.

Nonprofit feminist organization Women’s Liberation Front filed its own argument in support of the women on Monday as well.

Both amicus briefs urge the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a U.S. District Court for Wyoming ruling in which Judge Alan B. Johnson dismissed the women’s lawsuit and said the sorority can define the terms in its own governing documents.

While the governing documents of KKG specify that only women are to be inducted, group leaders dispatched a statement in recent years saying the term now includes people who identify as women.

The 450 sisters argued in their brief that this was not enough: KKG should go through its official process to change its governing documents if it wishes to expand membership to males.

“(We) believe that KKG’s failure to abide by its own bylaws, coupled with the trial court’s backhanded dismissal of the complaint in this case, is a severe blow to women’s rights,” the sisters’ brief says, adding that the women have come together and funded the brief’s submission with their own individual donations.

Breach Of Contract

The 450 sisters come from across the U.S. Their initiations span 79 years, and they come from numerous schools, including Cornell and Stanford, the brief says.

The women assert that political tension surrounding the transgender issue has complicated what would otherwise be a simple breach-of-contract case.

The brief offers the hypothetical of a homeowner who contracts a painter to paint his home white.

“But the painter ‘expands’ his definition of white to include black,” says the brief. “Such a unilateral refashioning of the term to include its opposite is no reinterpretation at all but … a plain-as-day breach of the contract.”

The sisters claim KKG has disenfranchised sorority members who did not participate in the organization’s expansion of the word “woman.”

‘Radical’ Feminists

The Women’s Liberation Front describes itself as a “radical” feminist group.

Its brief stresses the importance of women’s right to vote and touches on the fights for contraceptives, abortion access and laws against marital rape.

The group’s brief says inducting males into sororities endangers women.

“Nearly all murders, assaults and rapes against women are committed by men,” says the brief. “Since men are, on average, much stronger and larger than women, women lack the capacity to meaningfully defend themselves in close quarters when threatened.”

Other kinds of sex-driven violence generally perpetrated against women are less overt, such as voyeurism and stalking, the brief says.

The brief lists instances of transgender women exposing themselves to women and girls.

“We do not have female-only spaces because all men do these things – but rather because some men do,” the brief says. “Kappa cannot suddenly compel its all-female membership to pretend that being a woman means nothing at all.”

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter