“The Court Will Not Define A ‘Woman'”
A lawsuit filed by seven female students at the University of Wyoming against Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority was dismissed by Judge Alan B. Johnson.
The reason? The sorority’s bylaws do not define what a “woman” is, and the judge refused to provide his own definition. This decision allowed a man, pseudonymously referred to as “Terry Smith,” to join the all-female group and live in their house.
According to the lawsuit, the girls were forced 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.”
Ironic Emphasis on Freedom
The judge, while highlighting the importance of the sorority’s freedom of expressive association, completely ignored the safety and privacy concerns of the female students. He even noted that the broader sorority, with over 250,000 members, had approved the man’s membership.
Dismissal of Serious Allegations
The female students alleged that they were forced to live with a man who stared at them, asked about their intimate pasts, took photographs without consent, and intimidated them with threats of being labeled as bigots. One member claimed the man had a visible erection while watching members enter the house. Yet, all these allegations were brushed aside by the court.
Defense’s Dismissive Attitude
The man’s attorney, Rachel Berkness, dismissed the allegations as baseless and cruel rumors, comparing them to the vilification of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The sorority’s executive director, Kari Kittrell Poole, also stated that the club does not discriminate against gender identity and that the lawsuit contained numerous false allegations, without specifying which ones.
Neglect of Students’ Concerns
By dismissing the case due to an undefined term in the sorority’s bylaws, the court not only trivialized the experiences and concerns of the female students but also turned a blind eye to the potential harm and discomfort they experienced.