The Gay Mafia, Velvet Mafia, gay lobby, Lavender Mafia, Homintern, etc. are pejorative terms for the alleged disproportionate behind-the-scene influence of gay rights groups and the LGBT community in politics, media, culture, and everyday life.
An early use of the term was when the English critic Kenneth Tynan proposed an article to Playboy editor A.C. Spectorsky in late 1967 on the "Homosexual Mafia" in the arts. Spectorsky declined, although he admitted that "culture hounds were paying homage to faggotismo as they have never done before". Tynan allegedly enjoyed cross-dressing himself. Playboy would subsequently run a panel on gay issues in April 1971.
The term "Velvet Mafia" was first used in an article in the "Top of the Pop" column in the entertainment section of the Sunday New York Daily News in the 1970s by journalist Steven Gaines to describe the executives at the Robert Stigwood Organization, a British film and record company. The phrase was later used by the same writer in a roman à clef about Studio 54 called The Club in reference to the influential gay crowd that became the club's habitués. This "mafia" was said to include homosexual men such as Calvin Klein, Truman Capote, Halston, and Andy Warhol. The term was supposedly tongue-in-cheek.
"Gay Mafia" was widely used in the media in the 1980s and 1990s, and could be seen in the pages of the American daily, the New York Post. The term was also used by the British tabloid The Sun in 1998 in response to what it claimed was sinister dominance by gay men in the Labour Party Cabinet.
The term "gay mafia" may also have gained wider popular prominence after it was used in both a 1995 Spy article and subsequently a 2002 Vanity Fair article, wherein Michael Ovitz, in an interview, stated that a "gay mafia" was largely responsible for his company's failures.
In January 1999, Ovitz sold his company AMG for an estimated $12 million. But he blamed the downfall of AMG upon a Hollywood cabal supposedly led by Dreamworks cofounder David Geffen (despite the fact that most of its purported members were not actually gay). He later apologized for his comments.
The "Lavender Mafia" has been used to refer to an informal network of gay executives in the entertainment industry. But more generally it refers to Church politics. For example a supposed faction within the leadership and clergy of the Roman Catholic Church that allegedly advocates the acceptance of homosexuality within the Church and its culture. In 2013 Pope Francis claimed there was a "gay lobby" within the Vatican in remarks during a meeting held in private with some of the Catholic religious from Latin America, and he was said to have promised to see what could be done to address the issue. In July 2013, he responded directly to journalists' questions. He notably drew a distinction between the problem of lobbying and the sexual orientation of people: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" "The problem", he said, "is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem."
An early written reference to the term "Homintern" can be found in 1937, when the classics scholar Maurice Bowra referred to himself as a member of such a community (Bowra was homosexual). However, there are competing claims about who coined the term - including Jocelyn Brooke and W. H. Auden.[a][b][c][d]
"Homintern" was also used by American Senator Joe McCarthy during the McCarthyist scare, who used it to claim that the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, were set on destroying America from within. Attempts were made to link Communism and homosexuality, with "homintern" a play on the word "Comintern" (the short name of the Communist International).
Homintern also appeared in a number of mass-circulation magazine articles during the 1960s - such as Ramparts, which in 1966 published an article by Gene Marine about the Homintern. It was also frequently used in the conservative magazine National Review. William F. Buckley, Jr. would warn of the machinations of the Homintern on his TV talk show Firing Line - feeding the conservative belief by that the Homintern deliberately manipulated culture to encourage homosexuality by promoting camp programs such as the popular 1960s TV series Batman. Such magazine articles were often illustrated with the color lavender and the Homintern was sometimes called "the lavender conspiracy". It was subsequently 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.
- Association of Communism with homosexuality by anti-Communists
- Homosexual agenda
- Homosexual recruitment
“ [1930s?] "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) ”
“ "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: Auden's first articles in Parisian Review was in 1950) ”
“ "A Playboy of the Western World: St. Oscar, the Homintern Martyr" - Title of a review by W. H. Auden of The Paradox of Oscar Wilde by George Woodcock, in Partisan Review, April 1950. ”
“ "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) ”
- J. Bryan Lowder. "Gay mafia: Why are conservatives afraid of LGBTQ activists?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Kenneth Tynan Letters (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1994)
- Tynan, Kathleen (1987). The Life of Kenneth Tynan (1 ed.). William Morrow & Co. pp. 327, 333. ISBN 0-688-05080-8.
as cited in Paul Johnson's The Intellectuals, Chapter 13, Note 54
- "'Sun' rejects outing and sacks Parris sacks Parris and rejects outing". The Independent. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "BBC News - UK - Sun changes mind over gays". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 07 Apr 2010 (pt 0001)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "A 'Gay Mafia' in Whitehall? Sex Is Back in the Headlines in Britain". Nytimes.com. 11 November 1998. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Burrough, Bryan (August 2002). "Ovitz Agonistes". Vanity Fair.
- Lyman, Rick (July 3, 2002). "Ovitz Bitterly Bares Soul, And Film Industry Reacts". The New York Times.
- Holson, Laura; Weinraub, Bernard (May 13, 2002), "Some See a Young Ovitz in Emerging Power Broker", New York Times
- Gorman, Steve (July 3, 2002), Ex-Hollywood Superagent Regrets 'Gay Mafia' Remark, archived from the original on June 21, 2010
- "Maher: "There Is A Gay Mafia -- If You Cross Them, You Do Get Whacked"". RealClearPolitics. April 4, 2014.
- George De Stefano, An offer we can't refuse: the mafia in the mind of America, New York, 2005, Books.google.co.uk Retrieved 29 December 2014
- Gould, Peter (2005-11-28). "Vatican fuels gay clergy debate". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- "Pope Francis 'confirms Vatican gay lobby and corruption'". BBC News. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- Lizzie Davis (29 July 2013). "Pope Francis signals openness towards gay priests". The Guardian.
- "Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?". BBC News. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "Bowra, Sir (Cecil) Maurice (1898–1971)" by L. G. Mitchell, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography"
- Anthony Powell, Faces in My Time, Vol. 3 of To Keep the Ball Rolling: Memoirs by 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, abridged), University of Chicago Press, 2001, ISBN 9780226677217, p. 221
- Harold Norse: Memoirs of a Bastard Angel, W. Morrow, 1989, ISBN 9780688067045, p. 77
- A Queer Reader, ed. Patrick Higgins, Fourth Estate (UK), 1993, p. 315
- Blumenthal, Max (13 Jul 2010). Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party (reprint ed.). Nation Books. p. 205. ISBN 9781568584171. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "A review of "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture An Imagined Conspiracy" by Michael S. Sherry". The San Francisco Chronicle. 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- "From Auden to Wilde: a roll call of gay talent"
- Gregory Woods, Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World
- 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
- Woods, Gregory, Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World, Yale University Press, 2016
- THOMAS MALLON (November 11, 2007). "The Homintern". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-05., by Thomas Mallon, book review of Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy, New York Times Book Review, Sunday, 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- "They're here, queer, and art pioneers:, by Lisa Montanarelli, book review of Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Sunday, 2007-11-25. Retrieved 2007-11-26.