Thursday, February 04, 2010

Anita Gets The HBO Treatment


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."

8 comments:

madtexter ☺☺☺☺☺☺ (corey james) said...

What a delicious pie that must have been. (And wish I were the one who threw it!)

The more I read and learn about people who have made it their life's OBSESSION degrading and criminalizing gay people, it just makes we wonder why they think WE have a mental illness. I wish for once they would practice what they preach and accept/love all people like they would want to be loved.

And Anita's comments that gays will 'recruit' children because we can't biologically have our own? As if!?

That woman is one ant short of a picnic.

froggy said...

>gays will 'recruit' children because they can't biologically have their own<

Well, that begs the question? Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Miss Ginger Grant said...

And thus, the Cape Cod was born... vodka and cranberry juice- the official drink of gays everywhere!

Made with cranberries from Maine- known to be a very tolerant state!

truthspew said...

Maine isn't THAT tolerant. But then I think the reason that Q1 passed was because people were mislead as usual.

That seems to be the predominant tactic of the bigots, misdirection.

You'll note their campaign against equality in CA and ME employed the panic about the 'children' learning that it was ok to be gay.

In their view, it'll mean more kids will self identify as gay. I don't think so.

Kyle said...

Great post Bob. I could live without the biopic. It will be interesting, as she was a public figure, and that generally ads interest to a person's life.

Wonder Man said...

I want to see it

TheGaudyGarden said...

I lived through the "Anita Bryant Witch Hunts" as they were called, in Fort Lauderdale where I grew up and came out. They were NOT fun times.

Jerry Pritikin said...

Looking back, Anita Bryant galvanized the San Francisco gay community... and many closeted gays came out and never went back into their closet again!
For me, I outed my self nationally, when I created the ANITA BRYANT's HUSBAND is a HOMO-SAPIEN! T-shirt. My photo was flashed across wearing one via UPI.Several weeks later
at a gay fund raiser at S.F.s most popular Disco "Oil Can Harry's", I was able to get Jane Fonda to wear one. Again it made national news on the Associated Press wires. On the night she led the Dade County voters to overturn a new gay rights ordinance in Florida, it sparked an impromptu march from the Castro. Harvey Milk came with a bullhorn and started to yell "OUT OF THE BARS and INTO THE STREETS!
By the end of the march at Union Square(not City Hall, as depicted in the "Milk" movie) the crowd swelled to over 5,000. I snapped a photo of Harvey Milk, with a candle in one hand and the bullhorn in the other, and a sign in the background
SAVE OUR RIGHTS. It too made the Associated Press Wires(this was years before the www, and the best way to make the newspapers and news broadcast). It also introduced Harvey Milk nationally, as an openly gay spokesperson against homophobia, 5 months before he was elected to the S.F. Board of Supervisors. So because of Anita... she helped to bring all segments of the gay community together in San Francisco and elsewhere. I am glad they are making a movie about her and those times! Who knows? Maybe another Harvey Milk like person, will be propelled into the limelight, like Harvey was in 1977 for our times NOW!