Discover more from Wonkette
DAR Ladies Choke Themselves Clutching Pearls Over Hypothetical Trans Women Trying To Join Them
No one is trying to join the DAR, okay?
On Friday, right-wing moral panic factory The Federalist published an invective from living DAR member Rebecca Price Janney, who is quite outraged over the fact that vague language in the organization’s bylaws could, hypothetically, maybe lead to them having to accept a trans woman as a member. And the Daughters of the American Revolution are quitting in droves!
Enjoying this post? Not a free or paid subscriber yet? Let’s fix that!
This all came about because the organization updated its nondiscrimination language to ensure that they can retain their non-profit status.
NSDAR and its chapters may not discriminate against an eligible applicant based on race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
That just about gave poor Rebecca Price Janney a heart attack, as she and others were very concerned that this language could be interpreted as allowing trans women to join the organization, which they believe is supposed to just be for cisgender ladies who can trace their lineage back to someone who served in the American Revolution in some capacity and have some fondness, I imagine, for cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
So they checked with leadership and the leadership told them that they go by birth certificate, which the ladies were okay with until they found out that some states allow trans people to change their birth certificates and oh dear lord, what then?
When one regent contacted members of the administrative staff and other organizational leaders, she was told, “We go by the birth certificate.” Then she learned some states allow people to change the sex on their birth certificates and that some members she knew had seen a male wearing the DAR insignia and credentials at the 2022 Continental Congress. She came to believe the national society had already crossed the bridge without its membership’s knowledge or approval.
And this is why social justice language is so important for clarity. Was “the male” a trans woman? Was it a too-masculine-looking cis woman? Was it an actual cis man who had changed his birth certificate so he could join DAR and also creep in the ladies room? With these women, it is impossible to know!
Within a few weeks of the membership bylaw change, chapter members across the country began to hear about the amendment and its implications. The vast majority had no idea this was taking place or was even the remotest possibility. Many members began to voice their concerns and opposition on a DAR-sponsored social media site. This thread garnered more discussion than any other, except one in which a member was offering free bookmarks.
Well, you can’t beat free bookmarks.
The NSDAR says that people are not actually leaving the organization, but Janney insinuates that they are probably lying about that.
Already, a number of members, including at least one on the national board, have resigned from DAR membership because of the bylaws change. When asked about this, an NSDAR representative stated only a small number of members have resigned, and the resignations are consistent with the usual number for this time of year. Members who oppose the bylaws change believe she is dissembling. They believe the number of resignations is bound to increase as chapters begin meeting again in the fall, and the bylaws ramifications are made known.
To be clear, as far as Janney or anyone else knows, literally zero trans women have applied to become members of the DAR. The language didn’t even change to explicitly welcome trans women — these women are quitting because the language doesn’t explicitly bar them, in particular, from joining. I guess they imagine the DAR is just so incredibly appealing that the second the word gets out about this change to their nondiscrimination language, every Mayflower material trans woman in the nation will be lining up to join their weird and, frankly, deeply xenophobic organization.
Janney, oddly enough, did not really explain why anyone was so frightened by the idea of trans women joining the DAR, aside from the fact that it is against their religion for trans people to exist.
Many DAR members across the country are working together to try to get the bylaw amendment rescinded. They regularly report feeling betrayed by a national society that was established by and for women and whose motto is “God, Home, and Country.” They take seriously that God is first in the motto. They believe that forcing them to accept that a person can change his or her sex goes against the Bible’s account of God creating male and female in his image. They also maintain that science proves the existence of two sexes, defined by XX chromosomes for females and XY chromosomes for males. They reject transgender ideology, which demands that they see so-called gender as a fluid concept.
Most people know literally one thing about the DAR, and that is the fact that, in 1939, they famously would not allow renowned opera singer Marian Anderson to sing at Constitution Hall, which they owned, because of their “white artists only” policy, which they put into place after Black artists started demanding integrated audiences.
Eleanor Roosevelt ended up quitting the organization over the incident, and the NAACP came up with the idea to have Anderson sing, instead, at the Lincoln Memorial. The Secretary of the Interior helped them set it up and on April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson sang to an audience of 75,000 people.
The DAR has been trying to “make amends” for the incident for decades, even going so far as to finally get around to admitting a Black woman to the group in 1977, and by 2019, the organization even put one on its national board. There are approximately 12 pages on the group’s website all about how they are definitely very sorry for being terrible racists and tried for many years to make it up to Marian Anderson by inviting her to sing at Constitution Hall several other times throughout her life.
If the organization changes the language in order to specifically exclude trans women, they could lose their nonprofit status — but they would gain a whole new thing to have to apologize for over the next 80 years.