Grand Lodge of Virginia Sets Membership Rules for Transgendered Persons

Earlier this week, the Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, issued an edict (as well as change in petition format) governing rules for membership of transgendered persons in lodges holden under the Grand Lodge of Virginia. [1] In this edict, MW Flora states the following:

“Freemasonry traditionally being a Fraternity of good men, no person shall become or remain a Mason who does not continue to remain both physically and legally a male or who does not continue to present and conduct himself as such.”

The petition for membership now requires members to avow that the were born a male and continue as a male.

JR

[1] For the Grand Master’s edict, see: https://www.grandlodgeofvirginia.org/ExecOrd_Proc_All.pdf

 

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13 thoughts on “Grand Lodge of Virginia Sets Membership Rules for Transgendered Persons

  1. Well put Brother, very well put. When I started reading this article I was conflicted. I have always seen myself as an ally of the LGBT community but even as such I was torn at the thought of a transgendered Mason.

    On the one hand are my personal views of equality and acceptance; I firmly believe that all people have the God-given right to happiness and equality under the law. On the other hand are the history and traditions of our great Fraternity; the very things that called me to the Craft.

    After reading your article I believe you have been able to put in writing a well thought out argument and one that the Grand Lodge of your state would do well to adopt. We, as Masons, are always to uphold out tenents of friendship, morality and brotherly love. Are these the qualities we show when we pass edicts such as this one that openly discriminate against a certain population?

    If an edict must be made about a persons sexual identity perhaps instead of banning a specific group it should be to agree that this topic could invite discord among the Brethren and therefor is not fit for discussion (and thus discrimination) within our Lodges.

    • Great insight, Seth! My personal recommendation is for the Grand Lodge to make decisions on cases such as these on a case-by-case basis, as 1) the rarity of cases would not be onerous and 2) the cases that arise are circumstantially diverse enough to warrant personal attention to each one.

    • Other Volumes of Sacred Law may see it differently. I think the point beyond the letter of that scerd law was a fundamental understanding that Masons are first and foremost “MEN”

  2. Brethren, lend my your ears and let me exercise my first amendment priviledge. It is amazing that it takes an edict needs to address this issue in Virginia. I am so perplexed over this topic that I am not sure where to begin. I will start with the issue of transgender first. To begin with, the issue of transgender is a Human Rights issue no different that that any other civil rights matter. In our current society, the LGBTQ issue is a current reality and current Human Rights/Civil Rights matter. One does not need to address the moral or religious issue of the topic, but only the issue of gender. While Freemasonry takes “Good men and make them better,” it should not take “Good men and make them “BITTER.” I did not want to steal one of your quotes Chris and make it an issue on this thread, but I do like to use it when Masonic broom ofter referred to as Harmony is being used to sweep controversial issues under the mosaic tiles of the lodge. If a brother changes his sex from male to female, he has basically demitted from the fraternity. However, if a female transitions to a male, he would be treated as such by human rights and civil rights law. Thus, he would and should be allowed to petition a lodge of his choice. If one wants to split hairs, an Edict from a Grand Master (GM) is only valid for the one (1) year the GM is in office and once he is out, it is no longer valid. There has been controversial edicts in the past and I have heard brethren will say, once the GM is out, his edict goes with him. One would like to see how the GL of Virginia would enforce an edict that asks a petitional if he was born a male and continues to be a male. A true transgendered person can simply claim that they were the sex they are transitioned to and that would end the discussion unless they are forced to produce a birth certificate. Regardless, the edict in question appears to be discriminatory towards anyone claiming to be a male who may have been previously identified as a female. A civil law suit would be difficult to defend. My .02 cents on the subject.

    • Very well thought out, Terry. Too often, Masons forget what the ballot box is for. We get so accustomed to electing to membership everyone who can fog a mirror, that hasn’t robbed a liquor store lately, that we forget that it is our duty to keep a close watch on the west gate.

  3. How do you judge a man? Do you judge him by his fresh, which may be altered and be changed, that will decay and rot? Or do you judge him by his worth, will, faith, and heart? I am transgender (not yet transitioned). I was born with a male brain, in a female body. That is my birth defect. A simple, but devastating, change in my chromosomes while in the womb. The same genetic mix up can be compared to a person being with six fingers and toes, patchy skin, one green/one blue eye, abnormal genital formation, missing limbs, etc. It is not by choice that I, nor anyone else, is born with physical differences. This is why I find it difficult to understand why transgender men would not be able to join a fraternity such as the Freemasons, seeing how a man should be judged by his heart and not by his flesh. Loyalty, good-will, brotherly-love, bravery, courage, charity, and compassion all come from within. That is where it starts; mind and heart. We are men, from different walks of life. One much harder than most. One I would never wish on anyone. Shall it be how we are born into this World that defines us? Or is it how we spend our time here and in the way in which we leave it. I believe that God made this burden a test in my life, and how others judge me is their test in their life. I do and will not think any less of the Freemason fraternity if transgender men are not accepted to join. Transgenderism is not something that most people can understand or have even heard of before. I feel it is my duty to enlighten people about it and to help people understand. When people become enlighten, they become accepting. When all people can be accepted as they are, we gain equality for all.

  4. I was born with a DSD and raised female for practical reasons but I’m just not very much so. This caused me a lot of frustration growing up as people would make not unreasonable, yet wrong assumptions about who I was, how I thought, and what I liked, based on how I looked, and it made me feel invisible. I also experienced a lot of isolation and exclusion. I felt completely lost and out of my league with groups of girls, yet I was not completely welcome in groups of boys. I was not permitted to join groups or engage in activities that appealed to me (Boy Scouts, little league, jr. football), and I was often overlooked in general just due to differences in the assumptions that people make about males and females. I am different than most people with DSDs as most are content in their gender and Im different from transexuals as I have no intention of “transitioning”. I don’t like hassle in life and all things considered it’s just easier for me to make the best of what I have. I have a female form so I have tried my best as an adult to make a good woman out of it. I try to dress womanly and I’ve taken a lot of effort to act womanly even though to be honest it is not true to myself, and I am still completely out of my element in groups of women. Honestly the only thing I can think of that is positive about my situation is that I like men, and because I am similar to a man, I understand the little things a woman can do that can completely brighten a man’s day, like thanking him warmly when he holds the door for me, or sometimes just acknowledging his presence in general with a smile and a nod or hello in passing. Because I am the way I am, I also understand a man’s need for male only spaces and fraternity, and the important role that such spaces play to the mental and emotional health of a man, and I support these spaces entirely because no man should be isolated or without brotherhood and alone. It ironic though, because as a woman, I have the ability to give the gift of acknowlegement, and do so generously, but as a man I have been completely deprived of being acknowledged.

    I was born, have lived, and will die without ever having been acknowledged.

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