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Homintern was an early term for a supposed conspiracy of gay elites who allegedly controlled the art world. The word is a play on Comintern (short name of the Communist International) and was used because it was believed that such homosexuals, being regarded as enemies of traditional values, were active Communists as well. What was termed the "homintern" in the mid-twentieth century is now more often described as a "Gay Mafia".


"Homintern" was used in the 1950s and appeared in number of popular mass-circulation magazine articles during the 1960s to refer to what was believed by many to be an international cabal of influential gays who, it was asserted, controlled the arts and culture.[1] These magazine articles were often illustrated with the color lavender; sometimes the Homintern was called the lavender conspiracy. It was claimed that there was a secret worldwide network of gay art gallery owners, ballet directors, movie producers, record label executives, and photographers who, behind the scenes, determined who would become successful artists, dancers, actors, and models.[citation needed]

The term "Homintern" was used in articles even in liberal magazines such as Ramparts.[2] It was frequently used in the conservative magazine National Review.[citation needed] William F. Buckley, Jr. sometimes warned of the machinations of the Homintern on his TV talk show Firing Line. It was believed by conservatives that the Homintern deliberately manipulated the culture to encourage homosexuality by promoting camp programs like the popular 1960s TV series Batman.[citation needed]

After the emergence of gay liberation in 1969, belief in the Homintern faded because after the Stonewall riots, many gay people came out of the closet so it was more difficult to postulate this conspiracy theory.[citation needed]


"The word 'Homintern', which I coined in 1939, is attributed to Auden, who used it in an article in the Parisian Review about 1941, and has passed into the language. A takeoff on Comintern (Communist International), it was meant to convey the idea of a global homosexual community." –Harold Norse (1989; correction: Audens first articles in Parisian Review is from 1950)[3]
"A Playboy of the Western World: St. Oscar, the Homintern Martyr" - Title of the review from W. H. Auden in Partisan Review, V. 17, No. 4, Apr. 1950 over the work The paradox of Oscar Wilde by George Woodcock; the breakthrough of the term
"Anthony Powell suggested that his friend Jocelyn Brooke invented the term that Harold Nurse tells us Auden stole from him. Whoever invented it provided us with a splendid word to explain the social and cultural power of homosexuality." –Patrick Higgins (1993)[4]
[about 1934] "The new literary fashion then in the ascendant dominated by what Jocelyn Brooke (himself homosexual, but detached from 'committed' writing) used to call The Homintern, was unsympathetic to me; at the same time the fourth novel on which I was now at work - to have the title Agents and Patients - did not entirely satisfy my own standards in breaking fresh ground."- Anthony Powell (1981)[5]

Period quotations[edit]

”All the ‘artists’ with a capital A, the parlor pinks, and the soprano voiced men are banded together…I am afraid they are a sabotage front for Uncle Joe Stalin." --Harry S Truman 1946 [6]
"homosexuality, dope…immorality in general: these are the enemies of strong societies. That’s why the Communists and left-wingers are pushing it." –Richard M. Nixon 1971 Watergate tapes[6]


  1. ^ Michael S. Sherr (25 November 2007). "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  2. ^ There was an article in Ramparts in 1966 by journalist Gene Marine about the Homintern.
  3. ^ Harold Norse: Memoirs of a bastard angel, W. Morrow, 1989, ISBN 9780688067045, p. 77
  4. ^ 'A Queer Reader' p.315, ed. Patrick Higgins, Fourth Estate (UK), 1993
  5. ^ Anthony Powell: Faces in my time (Tom 3 of To keep the ball rolling, Memoirs of Anthony Powell), Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1981, ISBN 9780030210013, no page
    Anthony Powell: To Keep the Ball Rolling: The Memoirs of Anthony Powell (new edition, shortened) University of Chicago Press, 2001, ISBN 9780226677217, p. 221
  6. ^ a b San Francisco Chronicle book review Sunday, 25 November 2007--Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracyby Michael S. Sherry:

Further reading[edit]

  • Sherry, Michael S. (2007). Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-3121-2. 
  • Woods, Gregory (May 2003). "The 'Conspiracy' of the 'Homintern'". The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 10 (3). Retrieved 2009-03-28. [dead link]
  • Engel, Randy, The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, New Engel Publishing, Export-PA, 2006 ISBN 0-9778601-3-2

External links[edit]