The Freemasons, a fraternal organisation often dubbed a ‘secret society’, has decided for the first time in its history to allow membership to trans women, while still blocking cis women. There is a catch however, the member must have been biologically male at the time of original acceptance.
In new guidance issued to members under a ‘gender reassignment policy’, the United Grand Lodge of England said that its male-only joining policy would stay in place, but if a mason transitioned once accepted they would not be asked to leave. It stated a “Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason”. Membership would also be granted to trans men, once the transition process was complete.
The guidance continued by saying trans women would still be referred to as “Brother” but it would now be followed by their female name and suggested a uniform of “smart dark skirt and top”.
Edward Lord OBE, who identifies as non-binary, took some flack for his membership of the Freemasons, considering they are currently chairing an establishment committee for the City Of London overseeing a gender identity drive aiming to end gender segregation.
Lord replied to queries with the statement: “I take the view that I can best influence change from within. My preference would be that membership of Freemasonry wouldn’t be restricted on gender/sex, but we will never get to that point unless some people inside the organisation say ‘Hey this doesn’t make sense, why don’t we change?’ It is something I continue to struggle with and continue to think about. If it was entirely up to me I would change things, but you have to take 250,000 members with you.”
While it is not quite clear to outsiders exactly what goes on in the society, they claim over six million members worldwide, including Prince Philip, with past members including Winston Churchill.
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