Their secretive society has been male-only for centuries. Now the Freemasons are to allow women members — but only if they were men when they joined.
The United Grand Lodge of England, founded in 1717, has issued guidance to its 200,000 members that “a Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason”.
Its “gender reassignment policy” says that anyone wishing to join must be male but once admitted can remain a member as a woman. Anyone who has become a man can also apply.