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Is Anita Bryant Dead Yet?

Being faithful subscribers to DirecTV, Earl and I are delighted to see the addition of channel 263 – “LOGO” from MTV Networks. “LOGO” is the first non-subscription all-gay network.

The very first thought that came to my mind is that while I’m very excited about the existence of this channel, it’s a shame that we have to have a separate gay network. But if some of these shows were to show on mainstream television, the conversative right and all that would have an absolute hissy fit. Though they wouldn’t have the panache to call it a “hissy fit”. They’d just scream “moral values” and beat some people over the head with Bible.

One of the shows we’ve watched on LOGO this weekend is “The Evolution Will Be Televised”, which outlines gay history from the Stonewall riots in 1969 to current day. There’s commentary from gay celebrities, gay community activists, etc. I find it all very interesting, especially since I lived in Boston in the late 1980s and took part of a couple of the pride celebrations. I also had friends that were in ACT=UP. I once spat on a man that was trying to “cure” participants in a pride parade.

Anyways, one of the topics addressed in this hour long documentary is Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade in 1977. Being nine years old at the time, I wasn’t really all that politically or socially aware, but I do remember seeing Anita being “pied” on the evening news. I also seem to remember my mother saying that she wasn’t a very nice woman. I guess my mom was always cool that way. Anita looked harmless enough to my nine-year old eyes, but as an adult I realize what a horrid, hateful, venomous woman she was. And I will state again (as many others have before me): if anyone, gay or straight truly believes that a gay man or lesbian can be “cured” or “converted” to heterosexuality really has no idea of what they’re talking about and must have nothing less than a weak personality, low sense of self worth and a great deal to hide about themselves.

While we were watching this show, I wondered whatever happened to Anita Bryant. For some reason, I just assumed she’s passed on. But I was wrong. She’s still alive, but apparently silent on her social beliefs, thank god. Having lost her orange juice endorsement deal (due to a boycott of Florida oranges and other social pressures), she divorced her first husband and declared bankrupcy in 1997 and again in 2001. Sounds like all that hate has led her to the good life. Maybe she should shack up with Dr. Laura.

I think one of the most important things a gay man or lesbian can do in society today is just be themselves. If you’re not ashamed of yourself, you have nothing to hide. What’s the risk? People may shun you? Big deal. You didn’t want to know them anyways. If everyone would just let others live and let live and be themselves without judgment, the world would be a better place. I can even accept the views of others, however hate inspired. If they would just shut up about it.