Monday, June 5, 2017

Gay Masons turn to affinity lodges

Richmond, VA -- Despite being an organization that accepts men of all religious faiths, Freemasons have not been quite so accepting of men who have non-traditional sexual preferences. Facing expulsion if discovered to be "out," gay Freemasons in some areas of the US, desirous of being able to socialize together, have taken to forming affinity lodges as places where they can congregate and speak freely.

Affinity lodges have been common in the UK for years, and have recently gained a foothold in the US, with lodges forming around such interests as cars, fashion, sports, career choices, Crossfit, and other associations. With this in mind, a number of affinity lodges have been formed with the unspoken intention of attracting the handful of gay men that are in the fraternity.

"While some states are cool, we have to be careful in places like Georgia, West Virginia, Tennesee, and a few of the other states down in the Bible Belt," said Lee Beracchi, Worshipful Master of Outback Lodge in Richmond, "And of course, that goes for right here in Virginia, where about half the Grand Line wants to have us expelled. That's why we came up with the idea of creating a lodge where some of the boys can just attend without worrying about accidentally outing themselves. I knew of other such lodges in other states, so we started this one a few years ago."

The Past Bastard asked about the name.

"We picked 'Outback Lodge' because all the gay members drive Subaru Outbacks. In fact, you can pretty much count on anyone driving an Outback to be gay or lesbian," explained WB Beracchi. "It's not unusual for Subaru owners to have other kinds of get-togethers, so it was a perfect cover-up. It's kind of like a 'hankie-code' in that unless you happened to be in  on the knowledge, you wouldn't think twice about it."

WB Beracchi declined to give us details on how many members belonged to Outback Lodge, explaining that he didn't want to call undue attention to the lodge or its activities. "I will say, however, that we've got a surprising number of dual members from DC and Maryland," he told us. "So, hopefully those dues going into the Virginia Grand Lodge will be appreciated at some point, if you know what I mean."

WB Beracchi gave The Past Bastard a list of other such affinity lodges around the US, and we hope to visit and interview members as time allows.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro


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