I was blackballed…literally.
A few months ago I petitioned to join a Masonic Lodge and today I received the official rejection letter. Disappointing. The reason, I strongly believe, is because I am gay.
The petition portion was easy. I filled out a form and paid for a background check. Several weeks later, I was invited to be interviewed. I went to the lodge and met the selection committee. I was asked a series of questions and all seemed to go well. Then came the question I was most worried about: Are you married? I answered that I was. Then came: Do you have kids? I decided then to be completely honest and announced that I was married to a man. One face among the three turned in a way that let me know my fate was sealed. I had dinner with the group and then left. I was hopeful that the vote would turn out differently, but it did not.
So, I sit here with my refunded background check money and a letter which basically tells me that in South Carolina, I will never be a Mason. I am disappointed, but not for me so much. No, I am disappointed for the organization that has an average membership age of 61, a sad number for such an old and prestigious organization, has excluded a healthy young man from membership because of his inherent sexuality. I am also disappointed that one person in this lodge has deprived the group of a loyal, dedicated, talented, and overall amazing member. I am disappointed because the old guard is still blocking progress in this area. I have read many stories of gay men who have served proudly and openly in the Masonic organization around the United States and in Britain. So, it is not the organization, in general, that is the issue. Rather, it is one person, at least one, that has caused this particular lodge to be denied a wonderful member.
Being blackballed, while not unexpected, was a little shocking. However, I have developed a strong sense of exactly what caliber of person I am and this does not put a single crack in that self image. I will move forward from this and find another organization that can use my skills and desire for the good of many.
At least I can now say that I have literally be black balled…something that not too many can actually say.