Over the past few years, the transgender movement has created controversy inside the Freemasons as members have differing opinions on qualifications for membership.
According to the Daily Caller, the Freemasons are an all-male secret society with ties back to the Middle Ages. The Freemason organization is also recognized as the largest secret society in the world.
In 2018, it was reported that the United Grand Lodge of England, which was established in 1717 and is considered to be the oldest Freemason lodge in the world, determined that men who transitioned to become women could retain Freemason membership and that women could become eligible for membership if they transitioned to become men.
“If a Freemason who is a member of UGLE wishes to change gender and become a woman, we expect that the Freemason would receive the full support of their brethren,” a document issued by the United Grand Lodge of England stated.
According to the Daily Caller, the controversy over the transgender movement and its implications for membership in the Freemasons continue to split the organization in the United States.
Most recently, the Texas Grand Lodge issued an opinion in March that directly challenged the United Grand Lodge of England’s opinion from 2018. The Texas Grand Lodge determined that transgender individuals are not eligible for membership due to the original interpretation of membership in 1722.
“A biological woman (meaning an individual who was assigned female at birth) cannot be a Mason,” the opinion from the Texas Grand Lodge says. “A transgender man (meaning an individual who was assigned female at birth whose gender identity or gender expression is now male) cannot be a Mason. A transgender woman (meaning an individual who was assigned male at birth whose gender identity or gender expression is now female) cannot be made a Mason nor remain a Mason.”
According to information provided by masons to the Daily Caller, some members of the Texas Grand Lodge believe the lodge could change its decision in the near future to avoid the disciplinary actions of the United Grand Lodge of England. Masons also told the Daily Caller that the membership of the Freemasons in Texas is shifting from the older and more conservative members to younger and more liberal members.
“[N]ow that all of these English lodges have been forced to allow females in and the mother Grand Lodge of the world is now being required by its own country’s Supreme Court to force all of its own members to break their oath and let females in,” a central Texas Mason said. “America and every other Grand Lodge is now stuck in a gray area, and we don’t know what’s going to happen.”