I joined Freemasonry being initiated into the Lodge of Fraternal Unity No 7330 in February of this year.
For many people, this was surprising; I’m young so I had no reason to be interested in joining, I’m not influential or wealthy and I’m transgender. This last part was what some people found particularly perplexing.
I was seventeen when I started to delve deeper into gender identity and sexuality; I had always felt as though something was different about me when I compared myself to my two sisters. There’s nothing wrong with being different and not fitting into gender stereotypes, but this went deeper than that. It was as if I hadn’t realised that I wasn’t whole, there was something about myself that didn’t feel right and I was trying to work out what it was. Watching videos online and reading articles on different LGBT+ sites about coming out as transgender, I realised that what they were talking about was the way that I had felt my entire life but I had never had a word for. I was a transgender man.
I came out to my family and close friends when I was eighteen, coming out to the world some months later. The first year of being out was full of emotional turmoil. Some family members didn’t know how to act towards me, friends were either incredibly supportive or no longer wanted anything to do with me, and being Jewish this was sometimes more complicated if people’s reasoning’s were to do with religion, but I got through it and it really showed me who the people are that I can trust and count on.
The original reasoning behind joining Freemasonry was because all my friends were in the Craft, and they kept suggesting that I should join. I attended a ‘white table’ with some friends, both Masons and not alike, and decided that it seemed like fun, and the Brethren were so welcoming I had no reason not to join. In addition to this, I have a very strict set of morals that I live my life by, such as always being empathetic to other people’ s situations and doing what I can to help all people going through a hard time to the best of my ability. This seemed to resonate with what Freemasonry stands for, so it made sense to me to join and continue to do what I can to make the world a better place.
My grandfather was a Freemason, and though he hasn’t been a member of a Lodge in many years it was clearly something that he still loved and was excited for me to take part in it, and for us to be able to talk about. He attended my Initiation and came to the festive board with us afterwards; he’ s even thinking about joining our Lodge in future!
The majority of my life has nothing to do with being transgender, I’m no stranger than anyone else I just took a slightly different path into adulthood but often the things that we don’t understand or haven’t come across often can seem strange or unusual.
Unfortunately, Freemasonry has not always had the best reputation for being inclusive or particularly diverse in the popular world, but by having transgender and other diverse people amongst its ranks, hopefully that image will begin to change. I know that I am lucky to be a member of an incredibly inclusive and open Lodge and I can only hope that my presence encourages other people to join Freemasonry and further the diversity within.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 41 July 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 41.