"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, June 04, 2023

Upcoming 2023 Masonic Conventions

(Image: Brother Steven McKim)

by Christopher Hodapp

In the mid-2010s, American Freemasons started falling in love with the concept of state or regional Masonic Cons – large-scale Masonic conventions that bring together guest speakers, education presentations, seminars, and discussion groups, replete with vendors, commemorative swag, podcasters to cover the activities, and a grand celebratory dinner. Similar types of Masonic education events have gone on for over a century and a half, but the 'Masonic Con' branding (reminiscent of science fiction, comic, and mystery lovers' "Cons") seemed to kickstart imitators and provide new enthusiasm that has become infectious. (See my article from 2019, Masonic Con and the Power of Great Ideas.)

Coming up this year there are at least three that I know of, in Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois. Alert me if I missed yours.

Red River Masonic Con will be held June 23-24, 2023 in Sulphur, Oklahoma at the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Lodge of Research, speakers will include:
  • Robert C. Davis
  • Josef Wäges
  • Chuck Dunning
  • Daniel Hanttula
  • Alex G. Power
(See the schedule HERE) An informal 'Friday Night Philosopher's Guild' gathering will kick off the event, described as "a guided discussion of the meaning of modern day Freemasonry and a group exploration of the needs and wants of 21st century fraternalism." It will last from 6pm-9pm, and they are limiting it to 30 participants.

Tickets are on sale now. General admission is $99. There's also a $15 ticket if you only want to attend the Friday Night Philosophers Guild discussion (includes pizza). Wives, spouses, significant others and non-Masonic guests are encouraged to participate in a $99 non-Mason activity program that includes a Cultural Center Tour and Lunch (11am-2:30pm), Dinner at the CRCC with the Masons. the Nine O’Clock Toast, and commemorative glass.

Sulphur, Oklahoma is located about a 2 hour drive south of Oklahoma City off I-33, and it's a fascinating place to explore all by itself - it was the home of a prospering hot springs tourist area 

Masonic Con Kansas will be held July 28-30, 2023 at the hall of Rosedale Lodge 333 in Merriam, Kansas. To start, there will be a Friday Meet 'n Greet and celebration of the 100th anniversary of nearby Overland Park Lodge 436 that kicks off the event.

Speakers and panelists include:
  • Jason Richards from Virginia
  • Ryan Flynn from New Hampshire
  • Matthew Parker from Nebraska
  • Brad Drew from Kentucky
  • Mikel J. Stoops from Kansas
  • Kansas' own Darren Kellerman will be master of ceremonies
If you're making lodging plans, the two venues are:
  • Rosedale Masonic Lodge 333, 6161 Slater Street, Merriam, Kansas
  • Overland Park Lodge 436, 8109 Overland Park, Kansas
Tickets are available now. General admission (no swag) $52.32; General admission WITH swag $78.22; Virtual pass $21.23; Virtual with pass WITH swag $47.14.

Masonic Con Chicago will be held September 16th, 2023 at the historic Libertyville Masonic Temple in Libertyville, Illinois (north of Chicago, about seven miles south and west of Waukegan). The convention is organized by the brethren of Spes Novum Lodge 1183 and the Whence Came You podcast crew. 

No speakers have been announced yet, but tickets are on sale now at $80 for general admission and $120 V.I.P. level. Event is open to EAs, FCs, MMs and the general public. There will be no virtual tickets for this event.

And just because I somehow missed knowing about this year's Ohio event in April, the 2024
Midwest Conference on Masonic Education
will be held next year at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, May 3 – 5, 2024. These Midwest Conferences have been going on since 1949, and they move around the region every year. 
Somebody remind me to put it on my calendar.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Ric Berman To Speak at Georgia's Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge June 19th

by Christopher Hodapp

At 7:30pm on June 19th, 2023, Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge No. 59 will host Worshipful Brother Dr. Ric Berman at an open event at the Atlanta Masonic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Berman will be giving his presentation  "1723: Inventing the Future," which commemorates the 300th anniversary of 1723's Constitutions of the Free-Masons written by James Anderson.

A version of this presentation was previously given to over 1,600 brethren at a special meeting of the United Grand Lodge of England in January of this year, which UGLE's Pro Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Jonathan Spence, described as "a truly wonderful and extraordinary event."

Dr. Berman is one of the most exciting Masonic historians of our time. He is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 (the Premier Lodge of Masonic Research), and was named as the United Grand Lodge of England's Prestonian Lecturer in 2016. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He received his PhD in History from the University of Exeter, and has written numerous books on Masonic history, including Loyalists & Malcontents: Freemasonry and Revolution in South Carolina and Georgia, and The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry.  His most recent book is the basis of this particular presentation, 1723: Inventing the Future.

This meeting in Atlanta should be a truly fascinating evening of Masonic history. Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge meets in the Atlanta Masonic Center, located at 1690 Peachtree Street NW. While attendance for this presentation is free, a registration form should be completed at this link.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Rubicon Masonic Society's Ongoing Virtual Education Programs

by Christopher Hodapp

I've been woefully remiss in failing to promote the ongoing Masonic education video presentations posted by the fine brethren at Kentucky's Rubicon Masonic Society, in conjunction with Lexington Lodge 1 and the William O. Ware Lodge of Research. 
The May 22nd, 2023 program is "Operative Freemasonry: A Manual for Restoring Light and Vitality to the Fraternity" presented by Kirk White, the current Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Vermont. To RSVP and gain access to this episode, CLICK HERE.

Rubicon hosts their virtual Masonic education programs on the 4th Monday of each month, starting promptly at 7 pm Eastern. Education is open to Masons of all degrees as well as non-Masons. Their monthly online presentations started during the COVID shutdowns and have continued ever since. They're up to 47 episodes so far, and are still going strong. 

If you've never heard of it before, the Rubicon Masonic Society is an invitation-only private group of Master Mason Freemasons located in Lexington, Kentucky. Their purpose is to establish a deeper understanding and connection with Freemasonry, its traditions and practices, and to further cement the brotherhood of its members and guests through conviviality and unity outside of the lodge. Their annual Festive Boards, held at Lexington's magnificent Spindletop Hall, have become legendary (this year's will be August 18th, as part of a special conference about the 'Classic Masonic Authors of the 20th Century' – CLICK HERE for details), and I heartily recommend attending one, or at least catching the video they shot demonstrating their special ways of running these events (see The Masonic Table on Amazon Prime).

Monday, May 08, 2023

Colorado Lodge Dedicates Idiosyncratic New Meeting Space

Photo: Bruce Hinde

by Christopher Hodapp

CORRECTION: I mistakenly thought the new building being used by Elk Mountain Lodge was a re-purposed grain storage silo. Brother David Moran tells me this is a brand new structure, and was never used as a silo. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.

On April 22nd, the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Colorado consecrated the new lodge hall of Elk Mountain Lodge 118 in one of the most unusual locations in the world — inside of a round, steel building that resembles a grain storage silo (photo above). 

Photo: WB David Moran

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Up until two years ago, their old lodge hall on the second floor at 111 Eighth Street in Steamboat Springs had served them well for almost a century, but the cost of upkeep and improvements continued to rise over the decades while their supporting membership shrank in size.  So Brother Ray Selbe, a member of Elk Mountain Lodge since the 1980's, came up with an innovative solution: a 900-square-foot loft area inside of a round, steel building on his ranch that houses his blacksmith shop and antique tool collection.

Selbe, a practicing blacksmith, was building a shop where he could properly display a collection of blacksmithing tools he has been accumulating for several years. When the topic of the lodge needing a new location came up, he offered to build a mezzanine where the members could meet.

“We were building a new blacksmith shop, and suddenly we needed a place for the lodge,” Selbe said. “So we built a mezzanine level in the new blacksmith shop for the lodge.”

The new Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge is located above Selbe’s shop on his ranch located at 25245 County Road 42. The 900-square-foot lodge is built on the mezzanine level of the 1,800-square-foot blacksmith shop.


The completion of the lodge put a smile on Selbe’s face not only because it gave the Masons a new place to meet, but because it ensures the organization still has a home in Steamboat Springs.

“My grandfather and my dad and uncles were all Masons — it was a family tradition, I guess,” Selbe said. “There were a lot of memories in that downtown location, but now we’ll make new memories.”

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Like so many lodges, Elk Mountain began life downtown in their hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They were granted dispensation in 1902 and received their charter in 1904. 

Elk Mountain 118's former downtown lodge hall in Steamboat Springs
(Photo: Google Maps)

But Elk Mountain's new, modern lodge room is truly unique for the 21st century. For many years, these distinctive agricultural vessels have been converted into innovative homes and vacation cabins, but this is the first one I've ever encountered being turned into a Masonic temple. 

*   *   *

Read the histories of Masonic grand lodges throughout America over the centuries and you'll encounter countless stories of lodges meeting in unusual places like caves, above general stores, in barns, attic loft areas of log cabins — anywhere that could be successfully tyled, away from prying eyes and snoopy eavesdroppers. In Indiana we had two lodges that began life meeting on the top floors of operating grist mills in the 1800s: Millersville Lodge 126 and Wild Cat Lodge 311. (Adams Mill in tiny Cutler, Indiana is a museum today and area Masons have set up a historical re-creation of the original meeting space of Wild Cat Lodge No. 311 for the public to see and for our lodges to use.)

1864-era Masonic lodge room re-creation on top floor
of Adam's Mill, Cutler, Indiana.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

GL of New York Restores Amity with the GL of Scotland

NY GM restores amity with Scotland (artist rendering).

by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Lodge of New York has at last settled its six-year-long dispute with the Grand Lodge of Scotland and restored fraternal relations. Announcements were officially issued this morning by New York's Grand Master, Most Worshipful Richard J. Kessler, and Scotland's Grand Secretary, RW William M.S. Semple. (Click images below to enlarge.)

Scotland never did suspend recognition of New York, so their letter merely states the resumption of fraternal relations.

The original dispute came about in 2017 after a chain of events in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon (yes, really). Grand lodges of Scotland, New York and the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) have all had regularly chartered lodges in that country for decades, and shared that territory (along with at least six more unrecognized and/or irregular grand lodges that chartered other lodges of their own). New York first established lodges in Lebanon in 1924, and created its own District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon back in 1955.

Meanwhile, Scotland's first lodge in the area was chartered in 1861, back when the region was called Greater Syria, and the Scottish lodges flourished during the period of the Ottoman Empire. The GL of Scotland formed its own own District Grand Lodge of Lebanon in 2012, and I believe they currently have a dozen lodges at work there.

Complicating matters, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia chartered two of its own Lebanon lodges that resulted in New York suspending relations with them briefly in 2008-09 for improperly invading the territory. They patched up their feud pretty quickly.

But the longer gripe with Scotland came when a pair of expelled New York Masons in Lebanon jumped ship, joined a Scottish-constitution lodge, AND helped charter the District of Columbia's new Lebanon lodges. Despite New York's actions, the GL of Scotland not only refused to acknowledge and honor the expulsions, but went even further and bestowed provincial grand rank on the two men.

Here is the letter from the GL of New York back in 2017 announcing the withdrawal amity, just for reference:

Confused yet? For a longer explanation of this saga, see this story from 2017 (Click Here).

PGM William Sarbane (right, in the hat) issued a
charter for the new Grand Lodge of Lebanon in 2018.

Further mucking up this melange, three of the Grand Lodge of New York's chartered 
Lebanon lodges petitioned to form their own grand lodge. A charter to that effect was signed and issued by the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of the State of New York on October 24, 2018 creating the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of Lebanon. They currently have six chartered lodges at work, plus a lodge of research. However, there still remain 12 active New York lodges in their District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon, along with Scotland's lodges in their District Grand Lodge of Lebanon.

And I don't even want to talk about the GLNF's French lodges because it becomes too headache inducing.

In Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address in 1801, he declared his devotion to "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Those ol' entangling alliances will bite you in the butt every time.

Friday, April 28, 2023

RV Vacations For Dummies: Special Pre-sale Offer Today Only

by Christopher Hodapp

This has absolutely nothing to do with Freemasonry and is, in fact, a shameless bit of self-promotion. For those interested in the RV books Alice and I have been writing for the Dummies series, we've got a special one-day only offer for our new one, RV Vacations For Dummies - 7th edition. Instead of regularly updating this blog, we've been embroiled in this particular project for almost seven months — the final manuscript and artwork was just sent to the printers last week, and the book isn't due to officially ship until June 27th.

So here's the deal: Today only (Friday, April 28th), Barnes & Noble online is offering a special 25% discount on pre-orders for books not yet published. Go to:


Shipping is free. When you check out, be sure to use the special code PREORDER25 to receive a 25% discount off the $24.95 cover price. This code only works at bn.com (NOT Amazon), and is only valid until mdnight tonight.

(Be careful, as there is an older 6th edition still being sold that's a VERY different book - it's got purple color bars on the cover. Ours is green instead of purple.)

And if you're interested in our companion book, RVs and Campers For Dummies, B&N has it for 10% off all the time, plus free shipping, here:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Thanks To New York's Adelphic-Union Lodge 14 (PHA)

by Christopher Hodapp

Many thanks to WB Will Green, the Brethren, and the many visitors at Adelphic-Union Lodge 14 of the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York for such a warm welcome last night. I'll make a ballpark guess and estimate more than 70 Masons turned out for the evening.

I learn something new every time I visit or speak at any lodge, and last night was no exception. Masters everywhere make it a standard habit at lodge meetings to ask for reports of "sickness and distress," but last night was the first time I've seen it followed by a call for reports of good news: if a Brother gets a new job, buys his first house, or becomes engaged, it's worthy of sharing with the whole lodge so his Brethren can celebrate with him. 

That's well worth adding to the agenda for your stated meetings from now on.

(Photo by Kevin P. Wardally)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Speaking Tonight at New York's Adelphic-Union Lodge 14 (PHA)

by Christopher Hodapp

I'll have the honor of speaking tonight in New York at Adelphic-Union Lodge 14 of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&AM State of New York. The gavel sounds at 7:00PM.

Many thanks to Worshipful Master Wilbert Green and his brethren for their kind invitation. I'm very much looking forward to being there. 

Adelphic-Union 14 meets in The Prince Hall Masonic Temple located at 454 W. 155th Street in Harlem (between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues.)

Historic Adelphic-Union Lodge was originally chartered as No. 7 on May 11th of 1863 by the United Grand Lodge of the State of New York. It became No. 14 under the present Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York when the United and National Compact Grand Lodges consolidated in 1878-79. Joint recognition with the Grand Lodge of New York was achieved in 2001.

All Master Masons are welcome to attend. 

For more information and to give the lodge some idea of how many brethren to expect, check their Facebook page for the event HERE. 

Last night, I had a great time visiting John Philip Sousa Lodge 1192 at the Grand Lodge of New York's incredible Temple. Many thanks to everyone for the warm welcome. The lodge was chartered in 2019. 

They meet in the beautiful Renaissance Room of the Temple.

I also had a rare chance to get a glimpse of the private room of Kane Lodge, which has been the Masonic home to countless famed world explorers over the last 150 years or so. The only lodge social room I've ever seen that had its own polar bear.

I keep humming the club song from the Adventurer's Club now... Kungaloosh!

Michigan Grand Master Issues Follow Up Letter on Job's Daughters Situation

by Christopher Hodapp

MW Leonard K. Davis, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Michigan, issued a follow-up clarification letter on Tuesday regarding his Edict removing recognition of Job's Daughters International in his jurisdiction. 

That Edict was issued last week, after the international-governing Grand Guardian Council revoked Michigan's Job's Daughters charter and took control of their assets. (See Grand Master Shuts Down Job's Daughters in Michigan on 3/27/23 HERE.)

In his letter, GM Davis explains:

"While it is true my edict says no Job's Daughters International Bethels could meet in a Masonic building, that does not mean I am banning YOU. the Michigan youth and adults, from using our Masonic facilities to gather as a social club, as friends, or as a “Kids Lodge". With adult chaperones, youth may gather for fellowship, to study, to play games, share meals together, or any other activities not related to Job's Daughters International.

"For those who continue your journey with Job's Daughters International, I wish you great success, growth, and happiness in all you do. I will do my best to support you in any way possible that is not in conflict with the edict."

(Click image to enlarge)

Monday, March 27, 2023

Grand Master Shuts Down Job's Daughters in Michigan

by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, MW Leonard K. Davis, has just issued an official edict that revokes all support and association with Job’s Daughters International, a Masonic-related youth group for girls within his jurisdiction. 

Edict 2022-2 reads, in part:

That no Master Mason within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan can or will be allowed any office, station or place within any Guardian Council, Grand Guardian Council or Supreme Guardian Council, nor will any Michigan Mason be allowed to sponsor, advise, or associate with in any way Jobs Daughters International. Further, No Jobs Daughters International Bethels are allowed to meet in any Michigan Masonic Centers, Buildings, Halls or Temples. Further [sic], the Grand Lodge of Michigan nor any of its subsidiary corporations or lodges are allowed to financially support Jobs Daughters International. This edict will remain in place until such time as it is removed by the Grand Lodge of Michigan.”

 (Click images to enlarge, or view online at https://michiganmasons.org/news-events/)

The landing page of the Michigan Job's Daughters Grand Bethel has been scrubbed of information and directs all questions to their secretary. 

Some background: Job’s Daughters International is a Masonic Youth Group for girls, headquartered in Papillon, Nebraska.  When it was founded in the early 20th century, the organization required a girl to have a Masonic family relationship or sponsor, but that qualification was dropped several years ago. Job's is an international organization with individual chapters called ‘bethels’ in the US, Canada, Brazil, the Philippines and Australia. It is unique amongst the Masonic youth groups in that the adult leaders at all levels are elected and term limited. Based on the number of bethels in a state, some have their own elected Grand Bethel (daughters) and Grand Guardian Council (adults) that are in charge of running the state, while others simply fall under the international Supreme Guardian Council’s jurisdiction with a person designated by that body to oversee their the state.

There is a youth protection program run by the Job's Board of Trustees (who are also elected), and any adult involved with children must complete a background check and be a Certified Adult Volunteer (CAV). If there is an incident reported, there is supposed to be an investigation, and an appeals process is in place.

In Michigan recently there was an incident that resulted in one adult’s CAV designation being revoked; in this incident it was claimed an adult physically struck a child, there was a CAV violation report filed by an uninvolved party. But according to multiple sources, there are several witnesses who claim that the alleged event did not happen as reported (the adult is 21 and the Daughter was her own younger cousin). There was no investigation, neither the adult nor the youth were interviewed — the woman’s CAV was summarily revoked. (There have been rumblings that the complaint was filed in retribution for things that happened in the past — hard to verify in the light of flying email accounts and commentary.)

According to one insider, the Youth Protection program is specifically in place to protect members from harm, not to discipline adults for things unrelated to youth safety. Objections were immediately raised regarding not following the official process of Job’s Daughters — reportedly, the four adult leaders who questioned the process subsequently had their own CAV status revoked, including three elected state officers.

When Michigan Grand Master Davis got wind of all this rumpus, he requested a meeting with the state and national Job’s leadership. They reportedly agreed to meet, but never showed up. For whatever reason, they simply chose not to respond after that, and, according to sources, even dodged him at the Conference of Grand Masters in Alexandria, Virginia last month.

Two male members of the international Supreme Guardian Council were Michigan Masons, and the Grand Master apparently declared that if the Supreme Guardian Council wouldn’t meet with him, they would be suspended. He apparently asked for a review of the decisions and an assurance that they were made in accordance with their own internal policy. 

In the face of all this, the Supreme Guardian Council suspended the charter of the Grand Guardian Council of Michigan two weeks ago, eliminating all the elected officers of Michigan Job’s Daughters, both adults and youths.  According to the letter, if a state Grand Bethel is dissolved, its property and management reverts to the Supremes.

Supreme Guardian Maureen Wise issued a letter incorrectly claiming the GM had suspended these two Masons on March 13th, and that he had issued an "edict" that hadn't actually happened yet. (Click document below to enlarge)

For Michigan’s Job’s Daughters' charter to be returned, the Supreme Guardian demanded the Grand Master of Masons in Michigan revoke his "edict" in writing. Additionally, all appeals filed in accordance with the youth protection plan must be withdrawn, as should any filed lawsuits. 

Grand Master Davis responded to Wise's letter on March 20th, laying out the chain of events as he knew them, and contradicting much of what she had claimed:

Obviously, his questions and demands were not met over the last week, hence his very real edict issued today.

Unfortunately, when a youth group’s so-called adult leadership begins acting worse than a bunch of splenetic teenagers at a vindictive dodgeball grudge match, the children they’re supposed to be guiding and mentoring wind up the only real losers. No grand master anywhere wants to have a noisy internal donnybrook going on in his jurisdiction, especially when it’s in an appendant, concordant or other related organization. When these fights get escalated, it would be wise for appendant leaders to remember that GMs always hold the winning hand in their state and can kick the whole poker table over. Ignoring his communications is the quickest way to have that happen.


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Grand Master Renders Official Decision on Transgenders and Masonry in Texas

Grand Lodge of Texas

by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM, MW G. Clay Smith, has just rendered an official decision (Grand Master's Decision No. 1) concerning transgenderism within his jurisdiction. 

He was asked if the Constitution and Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas allow biological women whose gender identity or gender expression is now male to become Masons. The short answer is no. The Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Texas is silent on the subject, and so he falls back on the Ancient Charges to render a decision.

Grand Master G. Clay Smith

His complete ruling can be seen below, but to paraphrase the meat of his answer: 
    1. A biological woman ("an individual who was assigned female at birth") cannot be a Texas Mason.
    2. A transgender man ("an individual who was assigned female at birth whose gender identity or gender expression is now male") cannot be a Texas Mason.
    3. A transgender woman ("an individual who was assigned male at birth whose gender identity or gender expression is now female") cannot be a Texas Mason.

anderson- constitutions- 1723 | Rabaut-Saint-Etienne

Citing the male-only origins of the fraternity as found in Article III, Section 3 of the Ancient Charges as published by Dr. James Anderson in his 1723 Constitutions, he says:

"[T]he Old Charges must be understood in the context in which they were written and at the time they were incorporated into our Constitution adopted in 1920, not given new meaning based on current  attitudes and practices among some concerning gender and or other matters. Anyone who desires to become a Mason, and any Mason who wishes to remain in our fraternity, must be a man, as Dr. Anderson understood men to be in 1722, and as our Texas forbearers understood them to be at the time of adoption of our current Constitution."

The Decision goes on:

"It is important to understand that this decision does not constitute a judgement of this Grand Lodge, moral or otherwise, on the issues of gender identity, gender expression, or transgender issues. As in the case of spiritual and political matters, every Mason is free to form a private opinion on the subject. The Grand Lodge of Texas is forever committed to individual freedom of conscience and personal liberty in every lawful pursuit. However, not every such pursuit qualifies an individual to become a Mason."

The entire Decision can be seen below. Click image to enlarge.

Many suppose that dealing with transgenderism is a relatively new topic to be confronted by the fraternity, but it's not. Several decades ago, a midwestern grand lodge went through a lawsuit brought by an existing member who underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, and then fought ferociously to remain a Mason in "her" lodge. The suit failed, as the judge fell back on a common practice in lawsuits involving voluntary membership associations: because the Grand Lodge's rules and by-laws stipulated that all members must be men, and that members agree in their initiation to abide by the rules of the fraternity, the plaintiff had no grounds to sue. But that was more than 30 years ago, and society has changed dramatically.

England's Answer

In 2018, the United Grand Lodge of England issued an official "Gender Reassignment Policy". It reads, in part:


A candidate for admission to Freemasonry under UGLE must be a man. Should a person who has undergone gender reassignment and has become a man apply to become a Freemason then his application must be processed in the same way as for any other male candidate.

Any qualified candidate for admission may be proposed for membership of a private lodge in accordance with the provisions in the Rules contained in the Book of Constitutions. No candidate should be subjected to questions about their gender which could make them feel uncomfortable.


A Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason. We expect that Freemasons will act with compassion and sensitivity towards their fellow Freemasons.

We hope that no Freemason would engage in unwanted conduct relating to another Freemason’s actual or perceived gender reassignment or gender transition. Such conduct would not only be unmasonic but is also unlawful if it has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for, the victim. 

A Freemason who becomes a woman is not required to resign from the Craft.
If a person resigns from the Craft then they and their dependants might no longer be eligible for some of the benefits provided by the Masonic charities now or in the future.

A Lodge may vote to exclude any member for sufficient cause. The following grounds would constitute unlawful discrimination and so could never constitute sufficient cause:
a. The fact that a member has legally become a woman;
b. A mistaken belief that a member has legally become a woman;
c. The fact that a member is in the process of transition from male to female; or
d. A mistaken belief that a member is in the process of transitioning from male to female. 

Similarly, a Lodge must not attempt to persuade a member to resign from the Lodge or discriminate against a member based on any of these grounds. A Lodge must not at any time require a member to prove that they are legally a man.

The situation in England is more complex because English discrimination laws are different from the U.S. Back in 2018, the Brexit vote hadn't taken place yet, and the U.K. was subject to European Union rulings by their Court of Human Rights, as well. Freemasonry is protected under English laws, along with European Union laws from legal accusations of gender discrimination because of the fraternity's long-established, male-only admissions criteria. UGLE is officially recognized in England and Wales under the law as a single-sex association.

The problem arose, however, when existing UGLE Masons chose to undergo gender reassignment, which is when English law kicked in. The UGLE's male-only status does not protect them from accusations of discrimination against their existing members. According to a Huffington Post article published at the time, under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 a biological man who has joined the Freemasons cannot be excluded after transitioning because gender reassignment is a protected right under the law.

One interesting side observation is that the UGLE has an extraordinarily pragmatic view concerning female Freemasons. Bring up "wimmin in the lodge" as a Redditt/Twitbook/Facetwit discussion topic, and stand back: the incoming barrage of anger from just mentioning the subject is like being condemned by the Portuguese Inquisition for heresy. 

Not so in England. When a woman asks about joining at the Great Queen Street headquarters of the Grand Lodge, they cheerfully direct her to the two different female Masonic grand lodges in London that represent a combined membership of more than 50,000 lady Masons (the Order of Women Freemasons with about 4,000 members; and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF for Women) with In fact, when UGLE celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2017, the two female grand masters were invited to the ceremonies. It's common to find English Masonic halls with female Masonic lodges, and all three of these grand lodges cooperate on the Universities Scheme to promote the fraternity colleges and universities around the country.