From the age of four to seventeen I attended 1 primary school and 4 different secondary/high schools, not because of juvenile delinquency but because my family emigrated … twice. When I started primary school I was very shy, polite and friendly. Qualities which were in that’s school year were considered to be unusual. Even more unusual for them when I joined the choir and began playing the violin. Basically I didn’t have any friends (don’t worry this story has a happy ending) so I couldn’t develop the social skills a young child should do.
At my first high school, all those previous qualities I had meant only one thing to the bullies … GAY. Turns out they were right, but at the age of 12 I didn’t even know what that was. From then on I was defined by my sexuality, “You are gay therefore you are this or that, you can’t hang out with us”. I had to change schools because the physical bullying became too much, though sending me to a private school really didn’t help. At this school, I did start making friends. A group of five girls to be exact. It was logical, they weren’t mean, we had a lot it common and they were always polite. This type of friendship making continued on when I moved to high schools in New Zealand and in Australia. My experience at school made me develop a type of intimidation towards heterosexual men, most I’d met were homophobic and weren’t averse to showing it verbally or physically.
- In 2015, I joined a fraternity that changed my life and continues to do so.
- Qualities such as politeness and musical skills aren’t disregarded but embraced.
- I’m not defined by my sexuality
- If I was attacked in a homophobic manner, the men around me wouldn’t join in, they’d defend me.
If I’d told myself this 10 years ago I wouldn’t have believed it.
It took time after I first joined, but I started visiting lodges and interacted with good men. I feel as though my social skills are developing more and more. I’m not afraid, I don’t feel anxiety talking to men anymore, I feel like I can be one of the lads and have a good laugh during the festive board. This is also affecting my life outside the lodge with my work and studies.
I know for other gay masons, their stories aren’t as positive as mine and their stories should be told as well. I’ve written this article to show how freemasonry has helped myself as a gay man and to give an example of how Freemasonry can affect a man in ways people might not have thought of.
For me however, Freemasonry has accepted me for the man I am and is helping me to become the better man that I am capable of being.
To the brothers pictured up above, my mother lodge, my affiliate lodge, Queensland Freemasonry and international brethren I have just one thing to say …. Thank you.