This summer, the Daughters of the American Revolution changed its bylaws to allow men who identify as women to join the all-female historical society, angering some of its members.
DAR leaders passed an amendment stating that membership cannot be denied due to “[characteristics] protected by applicable law,” according to Newsweek.
DAR president general Pamela Wright clarified during the organization’s annual meeting in June that men who have their birth certificates altered to indicate that they are female are eligible for membership.
The new amendment also revoked the right of local chapters to decide if an applicant is “personally acceptable” for membership.
The change is just one of many happening across the country to allow men into areas and groups once reserved for women.
Bren Landon, a spokeswoman for the DAR, told Newsweek the move protects the organization’s tax-exempt status.
“The new language does not change the criteria for membership,” Landon said. “DAR’s longstanding membership policy remains unchanged since our founding in 1890.”
The DAR has roughly 190,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the U.S. and worldwide, Newsweek reported.
Applicants must prove their descent from “an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence,” according to the group’s website. There is a similar organization for men called the Sons of the American Revolution.
As the amendment was debated at the DAR’s 132nd Continental Congress, Jennifer Mease, a member of a Pennsylvania chapter, raised concerns about it with Wright.
Mease asked if chapters would have the right “not to admit … a person whose birth certificate has been altered by their state to indicate they are female even though they were born a male.”
Wright replied, “If a person’s certified birth certificate states ‘female,’ they are eligible for membership, and your chapter cannot change that.”
She added that “if you vote against them based on their protected class, it’s discrimination.”
Here’s President General Pamela Edwards Rouse Wright saying during the DAR’s Continental Congress: “If [a biological male’s] birth certificate says they are a female, and you vote against them based on their protected class, it’s discrimination.” pic.twitter.com/0ffhmePs62
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) July 26, 2023
Mease resigned from the DAR shortly after the proceedings, according to The Daily Signal.
In an email to the DAR’s secretary general, Mease wrote, “Recent changes in the bylaws of the organization … have compelled me to this decision. The change will require our Chapter to consider transgender males as females, which contradicts my deeply held religious beliefs.
“As a person of faith, I firmly believe that God created men and women as distinct and separate genders, and I am unable to reconcile this fundamental principle with the new bylaw.”
Other members expressed their displeasure as well.
“We’re a women’s society. … We should be fighting for women,” said Judy Lindsay of the DAR’s Cheyenne, Wyoming, chapter. “This goes against everything our patriots fought for.”
Dorothy Middleton, another member of the Cheyenne chapter, said, “I just think they are using this as a cudgel to beat us into submission.”
Landon told Newsweek in July that fewer than 30 members had resigned due to the changes.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.