I Can See Daylight Toto, but It’s Dark Somehow

Run away from the Daylight

Near the end of 2020, I saw an ad or an article about a new queer-owned bank (or neobank, as online banks are apparently known) that talked about fostering financial equality and inclusivity for queer Americans. They were going to establish an LGBTQ+ business marketplace that would provide discounts and rewards when cardholders shopped at merchants who supported the queer community. It was all very utopian, but in 2020 it felt possible.

They also touted the fact that you could use your chosen name on the card rather than your legal birth name. A critical, wonderful thing for a lot of trans people who haven’t yet been able to legally change their names. I’ve since learned that a lot of banks will do that for you, but at the time, I thought the name thing was pretty cool. I didn’t need it, I’d already changed my name, but I liked a “bank” promoting that kind of thing targeted to a queer audience.

The cards were secured, meaning you could spend only what you put in. There was no credit involved. But secured cards are a great way for marginalized people to establish a credit rating, something that can be hard to do when you’re already on the outskirts of work and society.

I decided I’d like to support a business with such lofty goals (they shouldn’t be lofty goals, they should just be normal, but here we are), so I opened an account and transferred in $500. Over the past couple of years, we’ve transferred in a few hundred dollars here and there, using the account as a vacation savings account.

Then a few weeks ago, I tried to transfer money into the account, but all I got from the app were errors. So I did what I always do and went to Google to see if other people were having the same problem.

That’s when I found this.

You won’t believe what you read in the article, but the tl;dr is essentially one of the owners of Daylight, the one who ran it, was behaving like an unhinged maniac. Ex-employees were speaking out about discrimination, racism, and a toxic, cult-like work environment worse than just about any I’d ever read about.

I most definitely did not want to support whatever that was.

I contacted them asking how to transfer money out of the account, and they said, not surprisingly, that it wasn’t possible to transfer out. So I went to a couple ATMs to pull money, but the daily limits were low, and there were transaction fees at each ATM (not unusual when you use a card not tied to the bank that owns the ATM). It took three days and two banks to get $1900 out, and because of the fees, I couldn’t even get it all out. There’s still $6.01 in there that I’m determined to spend. I just need to find a $6.01 transaction.

Today when I hit Google to get the URL of the above article, I learned that Daylight is closing on June 30th, so I have to find that $6.01 transaction pretty soon. And it’s a good thing I saw the New York Magazine article in the first place and decided to bail on Daylight because, after June 30th, any money in Daylight accounts will not be “accessible.” Odds are our $1900 would have disappeared because I didn’t really pay attention to the account unless I was transferring money in.

What does it all mean? I don’t know, but it isn’t a great thing for anyone who wants to start a queer-focused bank in the future. It isn’t a great thing for queer people in America who are already being chased to the gallows by the brainwashed Fox News proletariat. Right-wing news outlets are already starting to write about the “Woke bank failure,” using “woke” as an insult the way they do, but which I still wear as a badge of honor.

Before the great trans purge of 2022/23, the failure of Daylight would have been a blip that came and went. But now it’s just more ammunition to use against the queer population. “Look, you can’t even run a bank! We were right to rob you of gender-affirming care!” Well, America is obsessed with money and success and eradicating queer people, so I wouldn’t be surprised to read that somewhere or hear some fucking politician spout it. Not surprised at all.

I feel lucky that I got out, and I hope if you had money with Daylight you can get out before June 30th.

Here, maybe you can find a $6.01 transaction. 🙂

Run away from the Daylight


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