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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.[1] What was termed the "homintern" in the mid-twentieth century is now more often described as a "Gay Mafia".



"Homintern" was used in the 1940s and 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. These magazine articles were always 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.

In the 1960s, the majority of gay people had not publicly discussed their sexuality, so homophiles had to use what we today call gaydar to determine who was gay. Since this was sometimes difficult, anyone could potentially be part of the conspiracy, and even many gay people believed in its existence. It was widely thought among young people that the members of the Homintern all had casting couches, and that it was necessary to sexually submit to the Homintern on these casting couches in order to have a successful career in the arts. It was taken for granted that the Homintern had absolute control of the Hollywood film industry.

It was believed that the Homintern had secret meetings at which they decided on women's fashion design for the coming year.

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. William F. Buckley, Jr. sometimes warned of the machinations of the Homintern on his 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.

The tiny minority of influential people who publicly discussed their homosexuality in 1960s - such as Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, John Rechy, and Andy Warhol - were automatically regarded as part of the Homintern.

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.


”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[3]
"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 Watergate tapes 1971[3]
"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[4]
"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[4]

See also


  1. ^ An early, perhaps the first use of the term Homintern was in an article published by W. H. Auden in a 1940 issue of Partisan Review.
  2. ^ There was an article in Ramparts in 1966 by journalist Gene Marine about the Homintern.
  3. ^ a b Michael S. Sherr (25 November 2007). "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-01-23.  
  4. ^ a b 'A Queer Reader' p.315, ed. Patrick Higgins, Fourth Estate (UK), 1993

Further reading

  • Sherry, Michael S. (2007). Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807831212.  
  • Woods, Gregory (May 2003). [h "The 'Conspiracy' of the 'Homintern'"]. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 10 (3). h Retrieved 2009-03-28.  

External links



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