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The case of Artemis Langford divides American media

Artemis Langford on campus this year. Credit: Jimena Peck for The Washington Post via Getty

October 16, 2023 - 10:11am

Another glimpse into the abyss of America’s media bifurcation, as the Washington Post takes up the cudgel on behalf of Artemis Langford, a transgender student activist for the Democrats who became the first biological male to join an all-female sorority at the University of Wyoming.

The report from the weekend depicts Langford as a lonely, queer, autistic trans individual from a Mormon background, who “thought she’d finally found sisterhood and a place to belong after years of shame and loneliness” in the “forever home” of a sorority. Instead, we learn, Langford “became a target” of conservative media hostility and lawsuits by sorority members. 

This contrasts sharply with less favourable reporting elsewhere. Langford, National Review reported last year, was admitted to Kappa Kappa Gamma following a vote during which voter anonymity was withdrawn, creating “social pressure” for preference falsification. Women who objected were reportedly told they could “drop out” of the sorority. 

Then, in March, the feminist magazine Reduxx reported on the lawsuit brought by seven sorority members against Kappa Kappa Gamma. According to the complaint Langford, who stands 6’2” and weighs around 260 pounds, asked women about their bra sizes and romantic situations, was noticed “voyeuristically peeping” at and photographing sorority members in the house, and on one occasion allegedly had a “visible erection” while doing so. “It is really uncomfortable,” one of the seven women who sued later told the broadcaster Megyn Kelly. “Some of the girls have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. Some girls live in constant fear in our home.” 

Meanwhile, the Post focuses on how Langford felt it as “a gut punch” that, “after working so hard to get in”, it came as a complete surprise that “there were people who never wanted me there in the first place.” The report later underlines Langford’s supposed vulnerability, with graphic descriptions of an unrelated local case of homophobic murder that took place 25 years earlier, plus a 2022 shooting spree in a Colorado Springs gay club three hours away. The author neglects to mention that it’s far from clear what motivated the Colorado Springs case, given that the shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, reportedly identified as non-binary. 

The newspaper also neglects to mention that Langford is far from politically isolated, and in fact has a track record of political activism including a stint as legislative intern for the Wyoming Democrats. Presumably this would detract from the overall picture of a trailblazer standing alone against the full force of conservative bigotry, a picture in any case undermined by the fact that in August a judge dismissed the sorority women’s complaint. 

Taken together, these reports reveal several things. One is how self-contained America’s partisan media ecosystems are. Another is that Langford had supporters as well as detractors within Kappa Kappa Gamma — though, given the partial nature of reporting, there’s no easy way of establishing whether the women who spoke out were genuinely a minority in a chapter that otherwise had no problem with Langford, or whether — as others suggest — this was an illusion created by social pressure. As is now usual, readers will make their preferred inference based on which media ecosystem they inhabit. 

Above all, though, one thing is clear. It is consistently the case that no one cares about women’s discomfort, as long as the women in question are poor or otherwise voiceless. It’s only when women are pretty, articulate and from middle-class families that their discomfort causes an outcry. As with Langford, so too with the addition of males such as Lia Thomas to all-female college swimming teams. Each incident has an outsized effect on debate, because it impacts women who have a voice and are empowered to speak out about their discomfort. 

America lags Britain on the gender debate by several years, and it’s a long way from a foregone conclusion whether any of the last remnants of sex segregation will survive the three-pronged assault against it by trans activism, progressive women, and their cheerleaders in the media. If the right to single-sex space does prevail, it will be thanks to a new generation of confident, high-profile, college-educated sex realists, with views on gender ideology forged not via received progressive dogma but personal experience in swimming-pool changing rooms and sorority slumber parties.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Ida March
Ida March
8 months ago

Women voted for Artemis Langford to join the sorority. And now he’s been seen “voyeuristically peeping” at and “photographing” sorority members. On one occasion he was seen with a “visible erection”.
Who could ever have guessed this would happen?

Last edited 8 months ago by Ida March
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

Can you imagine if weird creepy guys realised they could get access to women’s changing rooms just by proclaiming they were trans? We must ensure they never find out!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

We are, of course, supposed to feel sorry for them over this lack of judgement.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

Just another humdrum example of a tiny, radical fringe imposing its will on the deplorables. Tolerance of people with different lifestyles is simply not enough – we must bend to their will and embrace their magnificent presence, even if it makes us feel scared and vulnerable. Good to see the regime media playing its role of the ideological enforcer.

Ida March
Ida March
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

But the women of the sorority voted to let him join.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

You reap what you sow.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

Whether they did or didn’t is irrelevant. His behaviour is particularly anti-social and he must exit.

George Tyrebyter
George Tyrebyter
8 months ago

They voted him in. I say let him stay.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

The election was about as fair as Equatorial Guinea’s, as the article points out

Roxanne Deslongchamps
Roxanne Deslongchamps
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

With heavy pressure from the Dean’s office maybe?

Last edited 8 months ago by Roxanne Deslongchamps
James S.
James S.
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

An EXTREMELY tiny, radical fringe group in Wyoming. Anyone who self-describes as a Democrat activist in WY is a very small blue fish in a red pond.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago

No. This obese pervert isn’t “dividing America”. The media is.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
8 months ago

I was driving down the road the other day and spotted a middle aged man with male pattern baldness in an awful, ugly dress. My first thought was “look at the f**king state of that!” My second thought was “is it worse to be transphobic or a *itch?”
This is an aspect that many trans women forget in the their search for “sisterhood” most women and girls are *itches and they’re unlikely ever to be accepted. Pity isn’t the same as acceptance.

Roxanne Deslongchamps
Roxanne Deslongchamps
8 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Where do they get those godawful fugly clothes?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
8 months ago

Charity shops.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

The actual Artemis would be hella pissed by these shenanigans.

John Mullen
John Mullen
8 months ago

Right. Somebody would get metamorphosed into a stag.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
8 months ago
Reply to  John Mullen

Looks as though Mr/Ms Langford already is.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

Let’s try to avoid descending to personal insults.

James S.
James S.
8 months ago
Reply to  John Mullen

And then skewered by the Huntress.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
8 months ago

I would suggest the women in the sorority hold their own unsanctioned vote with anonymity protected. Doubtless the result would be very different, but not covered by the Washington Post. Failing that, where are the dads, brothers and boyfriends?

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

Hard to believe there are still all female clubs at American universities. Decades ago at an English university I joined the fight to get rid of all male clubs!

Sorry all, but I actually did that! The silliness of youth.

Ida March
Ida March
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And in the silliness of their youth, some young women voted to allow a man to join their sorority because he wore a dress and said he felt like a woman.
Maybe this will be a wake-up call for them as they face reality and unfortunately have to “live in constant fear” of the man they welcomed into their sorority house.
In my very silly youth I believed in overthrowing the patriarchy and worshipping the goddess again.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ida March
David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

I think close proximity to activists is a wake up call for many, myself included. You realise there is something psychologically amiss with the hard core.

The sane ones grow up, the ones left banging the drum into middle age and beyond are the ones who are working out their own psychological issues through politics. They’d be better off in therapy.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago

I appreciated this analysis of the latest play in the Theater of the Absurd. It’s an overstatement, though, in the age of “woke” and critical race theory, to say that “no one cares about women’s discomfort, as long as the women in question are poor or otherwise voiceless. It’s only when women are pretty, articulate and from middle-class families that their discomfort causes an outcry.”
Within the misogynism of gender ideologues, any single man’s comfort is more important than that of all women, be they poor and voiceless or pretty, articulate and middle-class.  

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

Good piece on this debate. Read before I checked the author. Mary of course. After the bun fight over JBs latest, it is good to see some analysis.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
8 months ago

As far as Britain is concerned, Mary’s contention that outcries only come if pretty, connected, middle-class women are involved doesn’t fit the facts.
Here it has been: women prisoners, women in hospitals, women in refuges and seeking group counselling, that have been the most high profile examples of trans madness attracting public disquiet.
Looking at what’s been happening in the USA, it seems that Britain, and especially Scotland, has lurched further in to trans insanity than the USA. There are the predictable exceptions, such as California, where men have been permitted to transfer to women’s prisons since 2021.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Is there a tipping point at which so many (transwo)men are transferred to women’s prisons that the (transwo)men already there start complaining?

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
8 months ago

Don’t expect women to support other women. Queen Bee syndrome is alive and well across all fields of endeavour I have encountered (corporate/academic). Female evolutionary biology is brutal.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

Above all, though, one thing is clear. It is consistently the case that no one cares about women’s discomfort, as long as the women in question are poor or otherwise voiceless.

Though this is doubtless true, and sums up feminism for the last few decades: I’m not quite sure how it follows from this article. Is the author just pointing out that more important women’s issues sink without trace if they don’t impact privileged campus rich girls?

Last edited 8 months ago by David Morley
James S.
James S.
8 months ago

I was chatting with one of my colleagues, a woman, sorority alum and as liberal as they come, Her response to this story was basically “WTF?!”

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago
Reply to  James S.

And you replied……?

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

“Many such cases. Sad!”

William Hickey
William Hickey
8 months ago

Mary, your Women’s Libbers took away our McSorley’s Old Ale House and The Citadel; now we’re letting our autogynephiliacs take away ALL of your preserves.

Liberty. FRATERNITY. Equality.

Tough beans.

Ida March
Ida March
8 months ago
Reply to  William Hickey

So the patriarchy unleashes the autogynephiliacs on women in revenge against feminism.
As retribution goes, this is almost cosmic.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ida March
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  William Hickey

The stereotype in my head of men’s only spaces is places where groups of guys hang out with some degree of female prostitution involved eg “gentleman’s clubs”.
I know that there are men’s sheds etc which I think are great, but thinking my hubby is going to hang out at a men’s club that involved women in some degree of undress is very unappealing.
Would you mind defining what men only clubs actually are?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
8 months ago

This is a strong example of the transference of festishes or ÂŽkinksÂŽ far less evident in old transsexual lifestyles but central to the transgender movement today. The problem for the US is the permissiveness about openly alternative sexual behaviour over the last 30-40 years. ItÂŽs why gay men and lesbian women have reacted strongly to these threats that the transgender movement poses to their own liberties.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago

“…  a new generation of confident, high-profile, college-educated sex realists, with views on gender ideology forged not via received progressive dogma but personal experience in swimming-pool changing rooms and sorority slumber parties,” have taken on the role of the child pointing out the Emperor’s nakedness.
Come back Hans Christian Anderson.

Richard M
Richard M
8 months ago

It seems that John “Bluto” Blutarsky in Animal House could have saved himself a lot of unnecessary trouble with ladders.
All he needed to do was claim to be a woman and he could have watched as many sorority pillow fights as he liked.

Sacha C
Sacha C
8 months ago

What a f*****g disgusting stupid pervert. How could anyone not see anything other than what this thing is. Makes me feel sick to think that adults allowed that to happen. Really disgusting.