HBO is developing a biopic of Anita Bryant, the nutjob who went off on the gay community back in the 70s. Like a homophobic Chicken Little she ran around the country telling people that "The Gays"were recruiting children.
Now 69, Anita Bryant, is a former Miss Oklahoma [so maybe that's where the anti-gay stuff comes from] and a runner-up to Miss America; she was a fairly successful singer in the 1950s and 60s, and a spokeswoman for Florida orange juice.
But she is best known for her fights against gay equality.
Sex and the City creator Darren Star, who is gay, is set to direct and executive produce, while Chad Hodge is developing the screenplay. Hodge is said to be aiming for a "nuanced"portrayal of the Christian activist, saying Bryant is a "fascinating person on every single level."
Bryant was born to a religious family in Oklahoma, became a beauty queen, and then a singer, and then was a celebrity spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission: "Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."
I do a variation on that theme: "Breakfast without a gay man is like a day without sunshine."
In the 70s that Bryant became a controversial figure when she began rallying against a Miami-Dade ordinance outlawing discrimination against gays, and the ordinance was defeated. It would not be reinstated until 1998--twenty-eight years later.
Bryant then lead a group called Save Our Children, which encouraged other cities to protest anti-discrimination measures, she claimed that gays would "recruit" children, saying "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.....If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St Bernards and to nail biters."
Nail biters? Seriously? That should have been the biggest clue that Anita had gone wingnut.
In response to the Save Our Children movement, gay bars across America boycotted orange juice, and Anita Bryant lost her Florida Citrus Commission deal and filed for bankruptcy.
A hater? Yup. A wingnut? No doubt. But still, quite the figure in the LGBT rights movement, because she stirred up our community and made us fight for equality.
The picture at the top was the result of being hit in the face with a pie at a news conference. Anita, in full holy roller mode, didn't want the gay man who tossed the pie, to be arrested; instead, she sat there and prayed for him. her comment at the time, however,was more telling of her hatred than he Christian faith: "At least it was a fruit pie."