Jane Does in UW Sorority Trans Person Lawsuit Again Demand Anonymity
The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters suing their national organization and a trans person in a breach-of-contract civil lawsuit still demand that they, as plaintiffs, remain anonymous, according to a new request filed in federal court on Friday.
The seven plaintiffs claim the national leadership and the Wyoming non-profit sorority housing organization violated its bylaws that prohibit male members.
They also sued "Terry Smith," who they say identifies as a transgender person despite their prurient interest in those who live at the KKG campus housing.
The plaintiffs, who identify themselves as Jane Does I-VII, wanted to remain anonymous because of the strong likelihood that naming them will lead to threats and harassment.
But U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson rejected that request on Thursday.
"Our system of dispute resolution does not allow Plaintiffs to cower behind an anonymity shield, especially one that is so rarely bestowed in this District or Circuit. Defendants do not have the option of proceeding pseudonymously," he wrote. (The District is the Wyoming U.S. District Court; the Circuit is the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes the federal courts in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah.)
Friday, Jane Does I-VII fired back.
The threats are real and already are here, according to a renewed request filed by their attorneys Cassie Craven and John Knepper of Cheyenne.
"The difficulty with the Court's decision is that anonymity cannot be restored if the 'present' circumstances change," they wrote. "And they have."
Craven and Knepper cited several recent examples of threats and harassment.
On Thursday, swimmer Riley Gaines spoke at San Francisco State University about the need for protected spaces at a campus. People assaulted her saying "trans women are women."
Two days earlier, State Rep. Karlee Provenza (D-Laramie) posted a meme on social media that went nationally viral saying 'Auntie Fa says protect trans folks against fascists & bigots!'" Provenza recanted that meme and the Speaker of the House said she has received death threats as a result of her post.
Likewise, the church elder who opposed transgendered people, and whose privilege to host a table at UW was revoked, also has received death threats, according to the sorority's new request.
The plaintiffs are vulnerable already because people know where they live.
Some of them sleep with bars over their doors.
And even though "Terry Smith's" name is known, the Jane Does want him treated with respect. "This was the basis for the request for his anonymity."
In his order denying the initial request for anonymity, Johnson wrote that plaintiffs should expect social media attacks with 'criticism, ostracism, and vitriol.'"
The Jane Does responded with sarcasm.
"It is unclear whether this means that Internet death threats are not to be taken seriously or that Plaintiffs are like the sexual assault victim who 'asked for it.'"