Ivan Massow vs Zurich – “Because Shit Happenz”

Angry at life insurance premiums being higher for gay men due to being a HIV ‘high-risk-group’, Massow made millions by providing financial services to the gay community that didn’t penalise applications on the grounds of their sexuality. Then in 2003, after years of working as rivals and Massow criticising their policies, financial giant Zurich apparently apologetic for it’s actions of the past approached Massow offering him a deal. There was more money to be made. Did Massow see a solution to finally eradicate the need for a separate league of insurance for gay men? or did those pound signs blind him? The deal was Zurich would borrow Massow’s company £320,000 in the deal, in return for selling their insurance. Massow alleges part of the deal was that Zurich would stop asking people about their sexuality and drop HIV tests for gay men. He’s now in court Zurich’s lawyers claiming they have not changed their policy and that Zurich “tried to ruin him”. Zurich demanded the loan back and Massow refused to pay it.

Many in the gay community were dubious and refused to believe Zurich had changed when Massow signed the deal back in 2003. They were right and poor Ivan has gone home with his tail between his legs (truth be told actually he’s “festering in exile in Barcelona because of corporate homophobia” – according to this article in the Independent. People in exile rarely have a page in a national newspaper, and it’s doubtful he’s ‘festering’, I wouldn’t be surprised if living was pretty easy for Massow now in Spain, a stones-throw from the bustling muscle mary gay resort of Sitges.

Massow must have also neglected to read up on the shameful long list of homophobic tory policies (section 28, opposition to partnership rights, gay adoption, good and services, trans recognition the list goes on..) when he joined the Conservative Party aged just 14. At the Conservative Party Conference in 1999 Massow was Lady Thatcher’s escort, a time when plenty of harmful anti-gay emissions were still being propagated by the ‘nasty party’.

It feels like Massow’s principles are something he’s been working on for a long time. They come second to his business interests. Many admire him for coming from a poorer background and then going on to make millions in his twenties which is fair enough. It’s a shame because Massow could have been more of an ally and an advocate for the greater queer rights movement that at one time could have benefited from his support. Sadly the record’s too scratched now. By selling us out in the name of good intentions Massow’s current credibility is zero with large sections of the gay community who once saw his visions as revolutionary.

Is Massow an integral part of the modern Gay Mafia? Remember it’s a concept, like the illuminate or the secret service their existence is denied. If there is a Gay Mafia operating in the traditional ‘gang-land’ sense then Massow’s not one associate to worry about any more. If anything you should feel sorry for Massow, he’s been chewed up and spat out.

  • We’ve made every effort to ensure quotations and points raised in the above article are accurate at the time of going to press. If you would like us to print a correction please leave a comment below. Feedback and discussion is welcome.

9 Responses to Ivan Massow vs Zurich – “Because Shit Happenz”

  1. Ivan Massow says:

    Dear writer, (sorry, I cannot find your name)

    Thank you for taking the time to post this comment. I’m flattered. It’s better than not being written about. But, almost because of my lack of thick skin (see, Mr Orwell; sometimes the double negative is not only acceptable, but essential (someone had to tell him)) my fear, call it vanity, is that you will never know how wrong you are. You will never know because I’m simply running out of energy; especially when it comes to explaining my motives. Moreover, some deeds, if explained, become compromised.

    I am lucky, insomuch as my friends know the truth. There are many people, far greater than I will ever be, who have died without that privilege.

    I sometimes wish I was motivated as you suggest (and thick-skinned). I would be very rich and a lot more popular. But I have seen what people call rich; and found no richness. I meet the ‘popular’ daily; they’re not even worthy of the title ‘prostitute’. Prostitutes only sell their bodies.

    The reason my energy has dipped is less to do with Zurich and more to do with a community that despises itself so much, it’s almost become its own worse enemy.

    If you decide to reply to this, please quote just one person who knows me, whether they like me or not, corroborating your assumptions about my values. Reading your article is like meeting someone for the first time at a party who’s read about me. I flatter myself that this reply could have been written by any one of them on my behalf, after only a few minutes of that meeting.

    Yours, festering in Barcelona,

    Ivan Massow

    (And you’re right; I eat and live well here – but again, your assumption that this is not festering says more about your values than mine),

  2. Ivan Massow says:

    I’ve just re-read your article. Sorry, I didn’t get to the end of it the first time and I missed your final comment. It’s even more flattering. It endows me with squandered greatness: A compliment only a word away from ‘greatness’.

    Believe me when I say you have been too generous. Whatever you think of me is not real, I am just a whim of fate. My life is the only lottery ticket I will ever win – and as you point out – I haven’t, and may never, get the jackpot. Only a few of the numbers have been called so far. I’ll be as surprise as you if the others come up. Nonetheless, I will continue to check my ticket daily.

    I am no academic, my childhood was even more scratchy than the decline you grace me with and the values that possess me would first need to be written for me to find them in literature. I simply wake up each morning and do what I feel I must do. Compromising would be like refusing air. I am, as I think you suggest, not dissimilar to someone who knows with a certainty that exceeds doubt, that death is better than waking. I’d rather commit professional suicide, than draw the curtains of chivalry.

    Set your alarm, catch your tube, remember you are meeting a friend at the gym next Thursday. Be witty, opinionated, have friends, try to have safe sex, question a parking ticket. Pick someone up – or make light of your perfect relationship. Love Ken Livingston or hate him. As I am an enigma to you – you are to me. I don’t travel by tube because I’m rich. I just don’t like tubes.

    Again, all the best,

    Ivan Massow

  3. Ivan Massow says:

    PPS.. were you also the auther of “Aung San Suu Kyi has a lovley home – what’s all the fuss about..”?

    Orhan Pamuk, eat your heart out.. Ivan

  4. Ivan Massow says:

    PPPs.. I’m sorry to bother you again; I don’t want to be a pest (but this is a general question and nothing to do with the above). I

    t’s just that, now I’m in dialogue with experts, I was wondering if you could answer a question that’s puzzled me for my entire life. Why have I never heard of a bitchy Afro-Caribbean, or a Bitchy Jew, or a bitchy anything other than “queen”? We’re all equal aren’t we? Why would one community be singled out for this criticism above all others? It’s just another enigma I suppose.

    I really will stop bothering you and try to concentrate on eating my lobster now. I’ve already had to send it back (or was that the Don Perignon?) three times and the servants want to go home. All the best again, your friend, ivan

  5. Geoff says:

    It’s almost impossible to get an idea what a person is like from what appears about them in the media. Mr Massow may be a lovely person.

    My memories are of seeing him with Margaret Thatcher. Also the awful print ad of a young man with the caption ‘the insurance company that’s no virgin’ that appeared in the gay press (in the mid to late 1990’s I’d guess).

    When I first saw it, I thought the ad was shallow and just plain tacky. Looking back, it was an early sign of the direction ‘gay marketing’ was going to head in.

    Very soon after, it was given a more nightmarish quality when the man who appeared in the ad (Mr Massow’s partner at the time I believe) very sadly committed suicide. It made you wonder what was going on and the judgement of all concerned. Particularly as it seemed like ages before the ad was pulled.

    I think what LGBT people despise is the brainless, one-dimensional and shallow way we are treated by people who are supposedly part of our community. Dimwits who seem to have been able to creep into positions of power. Our enemies are now truly within.

    What does Mr Massow think of the Government-funded overseas tourist ad campaign for gay destinations: ‘Willkommen im United Queendom of Great Britain’?


    Maybe it’s true that AIDS wiped out all the most vibrant and creative gay men in a whole generation, leaving us with the current bunch? One straight ‘friend’ reckons that I’m the only gay man he knows who went to university and that most gay men are below average intelligence!

  6. Geoff says:

    Probably didn’t explain that last bit very well… I mean that the general population gets the idea that we’re all airheads who only care about interior design and gym tits. In some ways the media representations are almost as stereotypical as 40 years ago when we were all supposedly hairdressers with pink cardigans and poodles 🙂

  7. Darryl says:


    Gee, Mr. Massow, you got raked over the coals, but you let them win! Through all that you write, there seems to be a rather justified yet consistent vibe of being abandoned, of being isolated.

    I can’t knwo all that you have been through and I never will. But I do know what it is like to have a dream yanked out from under and to have finances stripped away. It’s not something that can be addressed and cured in a week. But to minimize theimpact you had is totally unfair to yourself.

    Many of my generagtion do not know how far people such as yourself have taken us. Why, we were branded under mental illness in the 70’s. We have come far, yet we have a ways to go. Being uplifting and supportive is where you and all others shine; please keep that light on.

    I also read an article where you shared a loathesome view of your sexuality, which is as much a part of your identity as ever will be. How can you regret being? How can you hate who you are? I would never choose to be gay, but I have no regrets and I love myself. Somewhere, someone is being impowered by that, and that matters. Somewhere, I am showing a straight person I am a human as any other. Somewhere I am showing a gay person I am as human as any other. But to hate my identity, to share in loathing? Awful. I would have told the staright bloke in the plane seat next to you how gay you were and how little it matters as that is not all of who you are. If he has a problem, it’s HIS problem. Your job is to live by example. If ever someone says “I don’t ind gays, I just don’t like it when it’s rammed down my throat” I would respond with this:

    “Oh really? Well, every day I have your lifestyle rammed down my throat and I applaud it, not beat you for it. Do you really think I would choose a life where I am beaten in broad daylight for holding the hand with the one I love? You don’t have to even give it a thought, but I had to fight for that. And who I love should amtter a lot less than our approval of seeing someone’s head blown off per minute on the telly. Maybe you need to get over yourself, because the world is evolving and this is the 21st century.”

    Please let go of the pain of your loss. Please forgive the ignorant, the misguided. Please be the best you can be and live by shining example. Celebrate that your life has had meaning and impact, and strive for more of the same. And forgive yourself for all the ahte you have placed on yourself. Aloow yourself to be. And if there are those who won’t want to see it, they don’t pay your bills, they don’t sleep with you so they can go f*** themselves.

  8. Darryl says:

    PS I typed this way too fast and please excuse the typos (who likes to insult a perfectionist?)

    By the way, you never hear about “bitchy Afro-Carribeans” or “bitchy Jews” because then it would be racist and a huge faux pas (it is actually), but bashing our kind is still acceptable (that and bashing people for being fat). the former…well, the BIBLE tells us so…the later…it validates our superficial esthetics.

    It takes someone like Tyra Banks to wigg out on national television over being judged for being photographed on vacation wiht a fuller figure (her reaction was priceless and she’s my hero now for that).

    Until we remind those who pick and choose or misread the bible or other religious tennets that they are required to follow ALL their messages (thou shalt not judge lest thee be judged, vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, love thy neighbour as thy self, a phrase about how one is suppost to honor the law of the land, the huge misinterpretaion of Romans that should be read in it’s entirety rather than plucking a phrase out of context) we will continue to have our discrimination validated. We need to educate our adversaries with their own ammunition.

    Also, we need to act more like a community and be supportive of all our members of our communities. Our homophobia within betrays some of the very people who brought us as far as we have come today. Hatred of transgender or drag queens…they were the ones in the front lines at Stonewall fighting for rights we enjoy today. The outspoken queens are way more of a man than the butch guys who shame us by hiding in the closet or shun those who are more obviously gay.

    And if we are so visually identified, how came we aren’t classified as a visible minority? Saying not all are so visible doesn’t wash with me. A blonde haired blue eyed person from Brazil with flawless English speaking skills is still hispanic and protected as a minority (they would in the US or Canada anyway). As long as we are visibly identified, we should be under those same protections.

    I dream of a day when being gay really is a non-issue, when we discriminate only against people who are selfish, cruel, mean-spirited, arrogant, exclusionary and rude, when we understand that hate is a pointless waste of time bred by lack of self-esteem.
    So chin up, Mr Massow. Believe in Karma, continue to do good works, continue to be good to your fellow man, continue to turn the other cheek and be the better man. Demonstrate class and distinction that your adversaries cannot comprehend and avoid taking the bait; live by example and show pity for those who don’t get it. It’s our job in life to lead by example and to educate the ignorant. That is what enlightened people do.

  9. Darryl says:

    PPS Oh and please be grateful for ALL you DO have…lobster!? Dom Perignon (not Crystal?)!? Servants!?I’m having peanut butter for lunch…after hunting across town for bread that’s at a discount so I don’t have to compromise on dinner…I made it myself too while shoving box cereal down my gullet trying to get dressed to rush to a job that wouldn’t cover your housekeeping…and some orphaned kid in Botswana is having nothing but hunger pains and a bloated stomach, too weak to even lift their limbs while wondering if he or she is going to make it through the day (that makes me grateful myself now that I typed it out…I’m so lucky to eat!)…get out your abbaccus, it’s time to count those blessings.

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