A. The Charge. Clannishness among homosexuals is habitual. In many walks of life the Lavender Mafia is active, to the detriment of the general interests of society.
Such obnoxious preening instinctively forms its own circles in the workplace. And of course this behavior is blatant in the “gay” hell-holes that dare to promote themselves as legitimate entertainment. Not infrequently deviant sex occurs on the premises.
In daily life these reprobates commonly choose to live in “gay villages” - ghettos in effect - almost always located in the the most disreputable, run-down areas of our major cities.
Today, the Internet facilitates their deviant togetherness. Their affinity for self-segregating makes them a subversive element in society, one that must be ruthlessly exposed for what it is.
B. Historical Background. That this collectivist tendency has occurred to such an extent is a product of society’s disparagement and persecution of homosexuals. Western society’s historic effort to taboo deviant sexual expression has forced those with such orientations to adopt coded and clandestine means of communication. Thus in the nineteenth century the French critic Charles Auguste Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) wrote of a freemasonry of love. In twentieth-century America the slang term mason (borrowed from hobo slang) has enjoyed some currency with the meaning "homosexual." In the late 1940s the organizational proposals of the pioneering gay activist Harry Hay led to the formation of the Mattachine Society. These arrangements were based on both the Freemasons and the Communist Party (in which Hay had been active). The term Mattachine served to disguise the aim of the group to outsiders, a tactic which struck some as devious, however necessary it may have been in that repressive era.
To homophobes the very existence of gay organizations, even with transparent names, seems conspiratorial by definition. For this reason, these haters speak of a gay agenda, as if there were some central body in which gays and lesbians gather clandestinely to draw up a list of desiderata, and then devise nefarious schemes to achieve them.
This notion, redolent of the appalling anti-Jewish fraud known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, had a precursor in the 1950s phantom of a Homintern or secret international society, which reputedly controlled culture and the arts. Apparently the term Homintern was coined by the poet W. H. Auden. The reference is to the Comintern, a coordinating agency created by Joseph Stalin to promote world Communism. Sometimes journalists used the expression Lavender Mafia to similar effect.
In point of fact the various international homosexual organizations have been too loosely organized to fulfill any such subversive function. The belief in a great homosexual conspiracy probably reflects a guilt formation on the part of some heterosexuals, who unconsciously fear that their bigotry merits such a response.
In a more informal sense gay cliques have developed in offices and other organizational settings. Initially, the members recognize one another by using their gaydar. Some of these cliques were indeed clandestine, meeting a minimalist definition of conspiracy. Today, with more integration of gay and straight people, this separatism is less significant.
Recently, the term Lavender Mafia has been used to designate a faction within the leadership and clergy of the Catholic Church that allegedly protects and advocates for the acceptance of homosexuality. Proponents of the theory decry "a heterosexual exodus from the priesthood," claiming that change this reflects the prevalence of blatant gay subcultures in many seminaries. This atmosphere discourages potential heterosexual seminarians from joining the priesthood. Early in 2013 it was rumored that the Lavender Mafia played a role in the resignation of pope Benedict XVI. Ostensibly, this cabal involves senior cardinals and other Vatican officials. who avidly participate in gay bars, saunas, chat rooms, while using male-prostitution services.
C. Response. Since their influence is often exaggerated and sensationalized, these associations or circles scarcely bear the awful weight of subversion that has been assigned to them. GLBT people are not that dangerous - even though some jokingly say that they wish they could be.
For their part, the more visible gay and lesbian outfits are no different from the bonding of members of ethnic groups or fans of particular sports teams. Nowadays, the circles tend to be supplemented or replaced by gay caucuses - among journalists, college teachers, and businesspeople, to name a few groups. These groups operate openly, often with the encouragement of the employer. As such, they cannot be termed conspiracies. Increasingly, political life recognizes that gay men and lesbians have legitimate group interests, and that those with these concerns must be permitted to operate openly if they are to be properly pursued.
In recent years politicians have generally abandoned their wonted attitudes of scorn and indifference. Recognizing that GLBT people vote, politicians increasingly seek their support.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Michael S. Sherry, Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007; Frances Green, ed., Gayellow Pages, New York: Renaissance House, 2010.