Armistead Maupin on Gays and Scientology

Holy Moly reports on a book reading last night in London in which Armistead Maupin, who just released his latest novel, Michael Tolliver Lives, made clear his thoughts on Scientology — and Edna Turnblad:

MaupinMaupin: “…of course the Church of Scientology comes in very handy. (huge laugh from audience) It’s the biggest ex gay movement in America. They catch you when you’re young and confused, tell you they’ll look after you, even provide you with a wife and child… Then of course you have to do what they call an audit, where you confess everything you’ve ever done into a tape recorder, so they’ve got the tapes. So once you’re famous and successful you have to go along with all their nonsense about people falling into volcanoes… (pause)… then you play a woman in a movie musical, a part created by a drag queen and written by a gay man…”

We’d like many more tales of anything from Maupin, please…

(via dlisted)

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Gavin Newsom’s Maupin Tribute: Tuesday is Michael Tolliver Day in SF [tr]
Armistead Maupin: How to Live Well at any Age [tr]
Hairspray: a Review [tr]


  1. daveb says

    good for him! but why hasn’t towleroad covered the scientology story that the Washington Blade editor started?

    maupin is only repeating what that guy has been saying for weeks.

  2. says

    Weeks? Hell, the truth about Scientology has been available for years. L. Ron Hubbard was an acolyte of Alistair Crowley, but blanched at Crowley’s bisexuality. Things got worse when hsi own so turned out to be gay.Meanwhile he created this fraud to make money.

    Originally Scientology was a mere “self-help” movement. He turned it into a religion in order to avoid paying taxes.

    I passed up a chance to see “Hairspray” for free. Your gay dollars are better spent elsewhere.

  3. says

    I saw clips of the new Hairspray movie and what I’ve seen Travolta looks horrible in it…and I’m not talking about his looks. Why they are remaking a new version is beyond me. The original was perfect and timeless.

  4. says

    There’s a legend that L. Ron Hubbard created Scientology as a wager with Robert Heinlein over who could start their own religion the fastest and make the most money. Heinlein’s entry was Stranger In a Strange Land.

    It may not be true, but it amuses me.

  5. Rey says

    The movie is fun and Travolta isn’t a producer. He’s already received his money so why not go see a film that helps support John Waters, Meron, Zadan, Shankman, and the myriad other gay people involved with this project.

    $cientology is still despicable, but the spirit of this film is certainly not.

  6. anon ( says

    Maupin’s point is clever, but I don’t think it applies to celebrities. After all, there is no guarantee that what you tell them during an audit is true or the whole story. You could just make stuff up. Celebs I think, sell Scientology to the masses as their main role, for which they might be compensated, who knows? Scientology is known for doing opposition research on reporters and muckrakers to influence stories, but they’ve not made much headway into Europe, where they are often banned as a cult. Certainly they support each other in HW career-wise.

  7. says

    I’m a Scientologist, and I tell ya, all this is much ado about nothing.

    I have several gay scientologist friends. Scientology certainly does not have any “reparative clinics” or whatever nonsense Kevin Naff wrote. And Armistead, much as I loved Tales of the City, clearly knows as much about Scientology as an African Nun knows about eskimo sex habits.

    And no, the tired old stories aren’t true; Hubbard did *not* create Scientology (and spent 40 years writing, admininstrating and researching) “on a bet.” And the author of that quote about ‘there’s money in religion’ is actually Orson Welles, not Hubbard.

    Boys and girls, TABLOIDS are not a reliable source of info.

    Scientologist and proud of it

  8. James says

    Do you want to know what Scientology is? – A website full of easy to navigate reference material including fascinating history.

    Or if you want your news coated in funny, the Southpark episode they don’t want you to see:
    or download here:

    You think they (Trey and Matt) made it up? NO. Scientologists believe that stuff, stuff that makes the Rapture seem commonplace. To any “gay” Scientologists” I would ask – rhetorically: I am not going to get into a thread debate – how far up the ladder of ‘clear’ they’ve gotten, IE: how ‘clear; can you be with gay thetans infesting you still?

    At it’s core Scientology contains some classic spiritual lessons.

    One can draw spiritual wisdom from the classic example of the founder preaching about the evils of psychiatric drugs while a lifelong addict, his corpse witness to a veritable pharmacopoeia, and a homophobia almost unrivaled in cult / fundamentalist circles as strong as the (founder’s) fear of being thought to be or discovered to have sort-of-been gay due to the initiation rite demanded by Crowley by proxy as part of the payment for his ghostwriting of the “theology.” And they say opium addicts have no sense of humo(u)r…

    What wisdom is up to you.

    If you want to believe all that and support it with even one penny, well it’s your life and it will cost way more than one penny.

  9. says

    Yeah. You *could* go to all those hate-filled anti-Scientology sources to “find out” what Scientology is.

    OR, you could simply look it up at the library, from an unbiased source. Or go to or

    If you want a truly unbiased source, you could go to

    You don’t learn about black heritage from the KKK. You don’t learn about Judaism from neo-nazis, or about GLBT from Jerry Falwell’s gang. Let’s get real here.

    Scientologist and proud of it

  10. Derek says

    Maupin does have a history of telling the truth about people either from first hand experience or from a very relaible source. He outed Rock Hudson through a character long before Hudson actually came out. He lives within a world of celebrities and those close to them and everyone loves to talk.
    Just as important is the fact that a deserving drag queen was cheated out of an opportunity to cross over into pop culture like Divine was able to. Putting aside Travolta’s beliefs,he seems to be an egomaniacal spoiled ass hole,