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.


  1. Here’s a tidbit…I’m a gay guy & when I was 16 (1977?), my parents let me go to Israel on a tour with the infamous & now not breathing, Jerry Falwell. Ironic huh. Guess who the “guest singer” was on this tour??? Yes, Ms. Anita Bryant herself. Maybe my parents thought these 2 monsters would “cure” me! I was on the same flights & same tour bus as she & her family for the whole trip. She gave quite a few concerts on this 2 week trip…most were after dinner at our hotel. I must say she was quite a singer. I enjoyed it at the time because of course, I was as far inside the closet as I could get without busting down the closet wall. Her entire family was on this tour as well. Her son was about my age & quite a cutie pie. One blogger mentioned that he had been “outed”. I can’t verify that but I will tell you he was quite a little queen. I never got to speak with him on that tour but watched him closely. I know huh…gay kid rubbing elbows with the muther & father of all hatemongers. Talk about irony & actually it’s quite funny. I’m over the closet thing almost 25 years now. Beautiful partner of 15+ years. Life is great. Glad our foresisters had stood up for their rights making it a little easier for us. Thanks all you queens before us!!! We love you!!!

    1. Anita Bryant. Wasn’t Satan one of Gods angels at one time? Boy is she in for a surprise at the pearly gates!

  2. Funny how I was directed to your site. I saw that “MILK” the movie was being shown on HBO today and, having already seen it twice, wondered about A.b. Thought I was being clever when I typed in “Is Anita Bryant Dead Yet?” only to see you had already asked it. Like minds…..

  3. I also typed in “Is Anita Bryant dead yet”, and was shocked and delighted to see thoes words delivered up by Google from someone else !!
    At work in the 80’s I said “We’re here, we’re queer, Get used to it” in the coffee room with a real hatemonger there and as you said, he had a real hissy fit. I thought he might stroke out right there, and he was only in his 40’s I stood up for us, and they made my life hell, and Anita helped them, emboldened them. I’m glad her son is adorable, I hope he has a nice husband now and a fabulous wardrobe. I see him in a gorgeous dress.
    Power to the people, my precious LGBT peeps. I love you all. God bless Harvey Milk, and god damn that bitch Anita Bryant. I love oranges, and I eat them again now.
    That boycott was effective. Anita later got a divorce putting her out of the running for abiding by the bible she loved to thump so well. She made lots of LGBT people poor so I’m glad se had to declare backruptcy. Twice.

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