Without its members knowing, the Daughters of the American Revolution opened the door to male membership. Women founded the service organization in 1890, have governed it ever since, and have dedicated themselves to millions of hours of community service annually, but now transgender ideology threatens to fundamentally transform its historic character.
In late June, members of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution met at its Memorial Continental Hall headquarters for their annual convention. The NSDAR had sent proposed bylaws amendments to chapter regents in advance of the meetings for review and dissemination to chapter members. There was an emphasis in the distributed material about proposed amendments related to an increase in application fees, but an amendment to update nondiscrimination language was initially barely mentioned. It read, “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.”
In the week leading to the annual meeting, known as the Continental Congress, regents received two updates on changes in that proposed language. Some members became suspicious of the proposed amendment and began investigating whether the changes meant the national society would sanction admitting men who claim to be women into DAR membership.
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.
When the amendment was put forth for discussion at the June 28 business meeting at Continental Congress, one regent asked President General Pamela Wright if this meant males could be admitted to the DAR. Wright confirmed this would now be possible if their amended and certified birth certificates stated they were female. She told delegates the DAR needed a “public facing statement of how we do not discriminate to protect our tax-exempt, non-profit status,” as advised by a lawyer.
Several delegates questioned the amendment and voiced their opposition to allowing males to join a women’s society. Those delegates who spoke in favor of the amendment cited the need to protect the NSDAR’s nonprofit status. A past president general abruptly made a motion that the discussion end and a standing vote be taken. The standing vote differed from the normal voting procedure at the annual gathering, which could be done remotely on one’s electronic devices. Without a formal count, Wright declared the motion passed. Video footage available on YouTube shows only the votes against passage, so members have to take her word that she accurately observed the count.
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.
Several members’ posts were removed, and within days, site administrators began replying to posts with the following message:
To clarify, the approved bylaws amendment does not change the policy on membership eligibility. It simply added additional non-discrimination language to mirror the requirements of federal law and protect our tax-exempt status. We continue to only accept those into membership who can prove lineal descent from someone with qualified Revolutionary War service and who has a certified birth certificate indicating they are female. If you have further questions, you should reach out to your State Regent.
Eventually, the message thread was locked. When DAR members contacted their state regents as directed, they received a standard reply with the same wording. Members were also directed to contact Anna Choi, who oversees national bylaws, who responded in the same way. Neither state regents nor Choi responded to members who sought more precise answers to their questions. Daughters who have insisted upon getting answers to their questions have been accused of spreading “misinformation” and causing dissent within the NSDAR.
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.
Already, a number of members 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.
Several members from across the country whose first impulse was to resign have decided to stay and give the matter a year, hoping their consolidated efforts will force the NSDAR National Board and National Bylaws Committee to rescind the amendment. They say the stonewalling and scare tactics they have faced have not deterred them. They point to the opening ceremony at each chapter meeting when one of the membership’s responses is, “Yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Psalm 16:6).
DAR members are lineally descended from patriots of the Revolutionary War, and they are in a new kind of battle for the soul of their society and their country. These women have pledged to honor their patriot ancestors by preserving their historic women’s society and protecting their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. They refuse to be forced to accept something they know to be untrue about human beings and will not bend to societal pressure like their national board.
A quote from Revolutionary War Captain John Parker, spoken at the Battle of Lexington in 1775, seems especially appropriate: “Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
This article has been edited since publication.