I recently had the surreal experience of going to court and listening to my sorority’s lawyers tell federal judges that “woman,” the membership requirement in our bylaws, is “unquestionably” subject to multiple definitions, including man. I kept shaking my head. This cannot be real! 

This was the latest wild experience in a long journey—one that is far from over. 

My beloved sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, where I felt at home and safe and was allowed to be vulnerable, betrayed me. National leadership demanded that my chapter initiate a man, saying that his self-identification as a woman was grounds for his initiation. These leaders threatened to expel us, labeling us bigots and transphobes, if we did not follow their agenda. His new member acceptance process was upended from normal procedures; not only considering the bullying we endured, but his grade point average alone would have eliminated any woman from membership. 

Many of my sisters tried to stop the initiation. We, along with our parents, wrote countless emails and made multiple phone calls to our national headquarters. They told us they would listen; they did not. They told us they cared; they did not. It reached a point where they were so overwhelmed with calls that they shut down their phone lines for three days. They said we could contact them; we could not. 

I refused to be a part of the initiation of a male. Instead of celebrating an exciting time with my sisters to whom I’d grown so close, I sacrificed that experience. I could not, in good conscience, promote or show support for a man invading our space. I stood alone in my convictions. 

His initiation brought exactly what we knew it would. We faced inappropriate behavior, invasive and often sexual questions, and voyeurism. In our women-only home.

So, we gathered. Upwards of a dozen of us agreed that this whole situation wasn’t right, that we had to fight back. Alumni supporters heard what was happening and gave us courage: we decided to sue. Due to fear of retaliation and social consequences, some women slowly backed out of going public. But there are still 11 of us, some as parties to the lawsuit, and others telling our stories within the suit. 

And yes, we have faced consequences. Friendships were destroyed, several girls suffered severe mental health problems, and we began to lock our doors whether we were home or not. Safety was out of the question.

Many people have asked me why I didn’t simply leave, why I continued to give my time and money to an organization that clearly doesn’t care about me. But my leaving would mean one fewer person pushing back. It’s exactly what the elitists engineering society to eliminate sex want. 

No one should have to go through this. But that’s why we’re doing it. We will stand strong until this perverse social agenda is reversed.

To the attorney I just listened to: a woman is an adult human female. 

She knows that. The judges know that. So protect the female-only sorority we signed up for.

Elizabeth “Ellie” Renkert is a social media assistant at Independent Women’s Forum (iwf.org). She graduated in May from the University of Wyoming and is a witness in the Westenbroek v. Kappa Kappa Gamma lawsuit.