I found a rather strange and interesting "interview" with a Mason today. Titled "Inside a secret society: A gay African-American Freemason's story," it purports to be a discussion with an African-American gay Freemason.
No name or location is given for the Mason, who wants to remain anonymous. The person who posted the article appears to live in the San Francisco Bay area. Halfway through the interview the Mason admits he's not a Master Mason, but has attained "the second degree."
The strange and interesting parts of the interview are not that the Mason is African-American, or that he's gay. It's in what he says.
He says he was invited by letter to become a Freemason. I've heard this is the way it's done in England, but it's the first I've heard of it in America. He suspects he was on a mailing list of charity donors. When he asked a Mason at the lodge he eventually joined why he'd received the letter, he was told, "It could be the kind of wines you like, it could be places you like to go, your taste, your station in life."
When asked why he joined the fraternity, he told the interviewer, "The most important reason for joining is the networking benefits. I do not think that I would have the opportunity to meet the people that I am meeting otherwise. The men at my lodge, who are 35 to 45 years old, are at the top of their fields — they are active, they are getting things done and they care. I think that is hard to find."
The interviewer asked if he felt discriminated against in his lodge because he was gay. The anonymous Freemason replied, "These men have been to my home. They have gone into my bedroom to get their coats and have seen pictures of naked guys on my walls, and then they have come back again afterward. I have not seen any evidence of discrimination in my lodge."
Interviewer: "Do you plan on using your membership in the Masons to further
gay-related causes and/or causes that benefit people of color?"
African-American gay Freemason: "The cause I am most interested in furthering is my own."
Interviewer: "Are there levels to achieve within the Masons?"
AAGF: "Yes. There are 33 degrees. I have just made the second degree."
Interviewer: "Are you required to contribute money to the organization?"
AAGF: "Yes, but less than four figures annually."
At one point, the AAGF says "everything I'm telling you about I've either read online, or seen on TV."
When asked "Wasn't someone kidnapped and supposedly murdered in the 1800s for threatening to reveal Masonry secrets?", AAGF replied, "Yes, his name was Captain Morgan. There was another incident in Long Island, where someone was shot a dozen years ago or so in a Masonic lodge." [Note: The shooting in a lodge basement happened just over three years ago, in March 2004.]
Like I said. Strange and interesting.
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