As stars of Counting On, the Duggar family promotes a strict religious lifestyle that includes their own idea of modest clothing, rules for “courtship” (rather than dating) that include no holding hands before becoming engaged, and right-wing politics. In fact, Michelle Duggar recorded her voice for a robocall in 2014, reaching out to her community to prevent a law that would have protected transgender individuals’ privacy in public restrooms.
However, not all fans of Counting On support the Duggar family’s beliefs — and not all viewers consider themselves fans, either. Across social media, you can find a community of viewers who categorize the show as a guilty pleasure, or say they keep watching in hopes some of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s 19 kids will leave their strict religion behind.
In these communities, the topics range from how cute the Duggar family grandbabies are to outrage at Jeremy Vuolo (husband to Jinger, the fourth-born Duggar sister) when his sermons express anti-Catholic or anti-LGBTQ views.
In fact, the Duggar family’s political activity based on their religious beliefs has netted them some trouble: it was reportedly after hearing Michelle Duggar’s anti-transgender robocall (you can hear the recording archived at Washington Post here) that inspired a member of her community to tip off a reporter about a police report in which the younger Duggar children detail incidents of molestation by Josh Duggar, the eldest of the 19.
That started the Duggar family on the path that would lead to them losing their reality show 19 Kids & Counting, which would later be replaced with a similar show under a new name, Counting On.
However, many of those who follow the show make an effort to counter the Duggar family’s political activity. On Thursday, a day after Donald Trump (who some extended Duggar family members expressed public support for) announced an intention to block transgender people from joining the United States Armed Forces, one blogger who follows the Duggar family decided to make a difference.
The blogger, who goes by the screen name wtffundiefamilies, announced a plan to donate to the Transgender Law Center — and do so in honor of Michelle Duggar. The promise was to donate a dollar for every response, or note, the post got, up to a total of $50, and the amount was surpassed in mere hours.
The blogger quickly followed up with a screen cap to show that the donation had been made to Transgender Law Center, an organization that has been reaching out for volunteers and donations since Trump’s announcement.
However, Tumblr bloggers can have a domino effect, and bloggers following the Duggar family and Counting On definitely showed that in this case. Others piled on — some submitting that they had donated varying amounts in the name of the Duggar family, and others promising to do so on payday. Wtffundiefamilies even offered a reward — in the form of episode recaps — to anyone matching the donation.
All told, within only a few hours, there were promises for hundreds of dollars, all credited to the Duggar family, and the post is still getting shares and promises from other bloggers.
It’s not unheard of to donate to a pro-LGBT or otherwise progressive organization in the name of a vocal conservative. In March, the NY Daily News reported the story of a pastor who was so angry when he received thank-you notes after people donated to Planned Parenthood in his name that he filmed and posted a video expressing his outrage.
Wtffundiefamilies offered an incentive to others, promising a post recapping a Counting On episode to anyone matching the donation. If it continues to grow at the current rate, the Transgender Law Center will be crediting a lot of support to the Duggar family.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family/Instagram]