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Freemasons to accept transgender women – if they joined as men

Josh Jackman August 1, 2018
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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: A book by James Anderson titled 'The Constitutions of the Free-Masons' dated 1723, is displayed by a member of staff during a press preview for the opening of a gallery titled 'Three Centuries of English Freemasonry' at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry on September 28, 2016 in London, England. To mark Freemasonry's 300th anniversary, a new permanent gallery space is being opened and features items including Winston Churchill's Masonic apron and the Grand Master's Throne. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Freemasons are three centuries old (Carl Court/Getty)

The Freemasons have allowed women to be members – but only if they legally change their gender to male while they’re in the society.

After 301 years as a male-only group, the United Grand Lodge of England has told its 200,000 members that anyone who transitions after joining will not be kicked out, as “a Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason.”

Freemasons hit the headlines in February after the group No To Freemasonry and Homosexuality attempted to stop Rihanna’s visit to Senegal because they believed the pro-LGBT singer had ties to Freemasonry and planned to promote homosexuality for the Illuminati.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (C), also the 10th Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, is shown the Grand Master's Chair by Director of the Library and Museum, Diane Clements (L), during a visit to open a gallery titled 'Three Centuries of English Freemasonry' at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry on September 29, 2016 in London, England. To mark Freemasonry's 300th anniversary, a new permanent gallery space is being opened and features items including Winston Churchill's Masonic apron and the Grand Master's Throne. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the 10th Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, is shown the Grand Master’s Chair (Carl Court/Getty)

The Freemasons’ new guidelines, which were issued to all lodges on July 17, also allow transgender men to join, according to The Times.

The group will insist that members continue to address each other with the title ‘Brother’ even if they are trans women, meaning that someone who has become Jessica Reynolds will be known as Brother Jessica or Brother Reynolds.

However, the society will allow trans members to choose between stereotypically male or female clothing, with a “smart dark skirt and top” permitted.

Freemasons’ Hall, where the United Grand Lodge of England meets (poppet with a camera/flickr)

The change in guidelines brings the Freemasons into line with current legislation.

Mike Baker, director of communications at the United Grand Lodge of England, told PinkNews: “While there has been no general request for guidance on gender reassignment, questions on the subject are likely to become increasingly common in future, and now appears to be an opportune time to issue general guidance to our members.

“It should also be noted that people who the law classifies as female will still be exempt from membership of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).

“They may, of course, become members of the two female only grand Lodges – the Order of Women Freemasons (OWF) and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) – both of whom refer to members as Brothers.”

February’s campaign by No To Freemasonry and Homosexuality was far from the first time that an anti-gay group or individual has attacked Freemasons and LGBT people in the same breath.

The figure of Truth, attended by Faith, Hope and Charity 'commissioning the genius of masonry to illuminate the craft' in the building of Thomas Sandby's new Freemasons' Hall in London, 1784. The hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A painting celebrating the opening of Freemasons’ Hall in 1784 (Hulton Archive/Getty)

In 2013, a lecturer at Newham College in east London was sacked after admitting to being prejudiced and saying gay people were like the “Ku Klux Klan, the Freemasons and the Nazis.”

Dr Mark Walcott, a former head of performing arts at the college, said all these groups wanted to boost their “memberships” by “indoctrinating people.”

And in 1998, when Lord Tebbit wrote about Peter Mandelson being outed as gay, he said: “In a world where Freemasons are being asked to identify themselves as such in order that the public may judge if they are improperly doing one another favours, surely it is important that homosexuals in a position to do each other favours should similarly be outed?”

A member exits Freemasons’ Hall (Tee Cee/flickr)

These gay conspiracy remarks were not out of character for the Lord, who in May this year described a local pastor as a “Sodomite” after finding out he was gay.

Norman Tebbit, an 87-year-old former Thatcher minister, grew upset when he discovered a dean at his local church, St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, was gay, vowing to snub ceremonies at the Church of England cathedral.

Related topics: gender, Trans, Transgender, UK, Women

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