The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at the University of Wyoming counts among its more notable sisters Democrat U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), designer Kate Spade, Massachusetts’ first female governor Jane Swift, and actress Ashley Judd.
And as of this year, a man.
What are the details?
Kappa Kappa Gamma is the first sorority in the history of the school to accept a biological male who identifies as female into its sisterhood, according to campus paper the Branding Iron. The local chapter, led by Jamie Neugebauer, allegedly arrived at the decision by majority vote.
Artemis Langford — the student headed into the sorority — told the paper, “I feel so glad to be in a place that I think not only shares my values, but to be in a sisterhood of awesome women that want to make history.”
“They want to break the glass ceiling, trailblazing you know, and I certainly feel that as their first trans member, at least in the chapter in Wyoming history,” Langford added.
The term “glass ceiling” was coined by Marilyn Loden in 1978, and referenced invisible barriers that obstructed biological women from pursuing and obtaining positions of authority.
Langford suggested that acceptance should not be based on what an applicant’s “identity is or what their orientation is.”
The Cowboy State Daily, a local news outfit, reported having been inundated by messages from persons expressing concerns “about living situations and facilities usage in the sorority home,” but noted “those people declined to be identified or comment publicly out of fear for social repercussions.”
One KKG woman told the National Review that chapter leaders and other senior members had discounted concerns about accepting a man into the sisterhood. The source claimed that one KKG member said, “It’s 2022. If you vote no, it better be for, like, literal issues with that new member or else it’s homophobic.”
Another senior member allegedly said, “If your only concerns are about her living in the house, you are thinking too far down the road.”
KKG permits all sorority members to live in a chapter facility to “enhance the experience.”
Of the 12 pledges required to spend the night together during initiation, 10 allegedly objected to sleeping in the same room as Langford.
The NR’s anonymous source also indicated that Langford has “absolutely not” physically transitioned to female; that Langford is a “big guy” who has “made no efforts to physically look like a girl … He’s just calling himself a girl.”
Langford told the Branding Iron that he understands where his detractors are coming from, “but at the end of the day I wish that they would see me as who I am.”
In 2021, the sorority produced a “Guide for Supporting Out LGBTQI+ Members,” which stated, “Kappa Kappa Gamma is a single-gender organization comprised of women and individuals who identify as women whose governing documents do not discriminate in membership selection except by requiring good scholarship and ethical character.”
The guide detailed ways to “Be an Ally.”
It recommended that individuals “not make or perpetuate assumptions about someone’s Sexual orientation or Gender identity”; “Ask LGBTQIA+ … individuals how you can support them”; “Understand your own culture, socialization, prejudices, and privileges”; and “Always refer to people by the names and pronouns they refer.”
The guide, released by a formerly women’s-only sorority, further demanded the use of “words that encompass all genders, sexual orientations and family units. For example, ‘people of all genders’ instead of ‘women and men’; ‘children’ instead of ‘boys and girls’; ‘parents instead of ‘mom and dad.'”
KKG revised its bylaws in 2022, embracing the National Panhellenic Council‘s 2020 policies concerning transgender individuals, which state a “woman is defined as an individual who consistently lives and self-identifies as a woman.” Other sororities on campus have reportedly adopted this language as well.
This transmogrification of the language permits the sorority to assert that it is in keeping with the “single-gender nature of our organization … essential to the mission and purpose of Kappa Kappa Gamma and its chapters and alumnae associations.”