The Tenth Circuit finally gave us a day in court to fight for something we never thought we’d have to: the right to live and associate with other women.

See, we joined Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Wyoming because we wanted to learn and grow with other women. Women have done this for ages: Kappa itself was founded in 1870, and when Title IX was passed in 1972, generally outlawing sex-based associations, sororities were explicitly exempted from the law.

But that all changed for us in the fall of 2022. Our sisters were pressured by the Kappa Kappa Gamma headquarters to initiate a male—going so far as to force our votes to be public and warning us that voting against the male would be a sign of bigotry, a basis for expulsion from Kappa.

But headquarters does not have to live with its decision. We do. They had their female-only environment when they were at college. We do not.

The benefits of female-only living are self-evident, but they are also scientifically backed. Personally, we want a place to be ourselves. We want (and deserve) freedom from a male gaze in private environments. These emotional needs manifest themselves in concrete ways. Research shows that women are much less likely to speak, especially authoritatively, in mixed-sex settings. And women are 200% as likely to accept a leadership role in single-sex settings.

Maybe we wouldn’t have noticed what we had until we lost it. We felt uneasy walking into bathrooms, knowing that our privacy there had been dissolved. Our bedrooms don’t have locks, and it was hard to fall asleep without that layer of protection in our intimate environment. Some sisters are sexual assault victims, and were forced to constantly shoulder the unease of trauma by having been stripped of their female-only environment.

So after months of begging for the sorority we were promised, we sued. And we’re speaking up publicly too. Because this case, this issue, isn’t just about opportunities being stripped from us in college and in sorority houses. It’s also about being able to speak out and defend your beliefs without intimidation. We are women who want our constitutionally protected right to speak out and associate freely, including in women-only spaces. We have heard from hundreds of other women who share our views but fear speaking out and facing public shaming and persecution. We want them to find their voices and lead the way by taking this stand now.