1. jason says

    I’m in two minds about Anita Bryant. On the one hand, I want to be harsh on her. On the other, I now realize that she had some valid points about the lifestyle of some homosexual men. She wasn’t entirely incorrect when she pointed out that gay men sometimes lead extremely hedonistic lifestyles. Anita Bryant’s ideas were borne out by the AIDS crisis which hit a few years after she hit the headlines.

    What Anita should have done – and which many conservatives fail to do – is to draw a distinction between the homosexual orientation and the excessive hedonism that the gay male social scene promotes. She should have said that being gay is OK but be careful how you behave.

    She would have won a lot more brownie points that way.

  2. kit says

    Has she ever repented and apologized for her hatred and the way in which she demonized and vilified us — for playing such an enormous role in promoting homophobia and bigotry? Does anyone know? For years and years she made her living peddling hate — has she ever said that she is sorry?

  3. Nick says

    Didn’t the OJ queen meet any of “the gays” when she stumbled in to ATL’s Limelight back in the day? I remember a picture of a “shocked” Anita in the paper as she and her husband were doing some background investigation on the scene.

  4. jason says

    I have no mission in life except to tell the truth. There were elements of truth to Anita’s criticism of our community. Of course, if you’re addicted to hedonism, like many gay men are, you’ll fight tooth and nail to maintain your addiction. Your resentment towards me is understandable in this context.

    Having said that, it’s beyond doubt that Anita demonized the homosexual orientation when she should have just reserved her comments to aspects of the gay male social scene and its incitement to promiscuity. Donna Summer was careful to make this distinction but even she was treated like dirty dishwater by those in the gay community who are hellbent on promiscuous sex.

  5. Pete n SFO says

    Please don’t lift Bryant from obscurity by trying to humanize her.

    Florida is still living with the damaging effects of her misguided use of her celebrity.

    Real gay people & their families. Help her by letter her go-away.

  6. says

    Anita Bryant is still the nasty person she was in the 70s and still playing the martyr. Right Wing Watch (reposted by Jeremy Hooper) wrote last summer about the liner note Bryant provided for the new book by one of Oklahoma’s most vicious homophobes, Sally Kern: “Reading The Stoning of Sally Kern was at times like déjà vu, reminding me of my stand in Dade County in 1977.”

  7. Marc C says

    I don’t hate Anita and there are way bigger fish to fry. Some of you carry a grudge much too long and that is only going to eat you in the end. Let it go and put your bitterness towards those who are oppressing us now.

    Or are you all talk and no action?

  8. Rich F. says

    @ Jason: Spare me. You know as well as I do that Bryant was demonizing ALL gays, not just promiscuous ones. Her arguments had absolutely nothing to do with social commentary; they were pure unadulterated bigotry, on par with “all Mexicans are filthy” and “all black people are drug dealers on welfare.” She was using the actions of a minority to smear all of us with opprobrium, and to incite a popular backlash against us. To say “she didn’t mean to do what she did” is asinine, not to mention a gross misreading of the historical record.

  9. jason says

    Some of you decry Anita Bryant – and proably for good reason – but you are also hypocrites. There are tons of homophobic rappers and hip-hop performers whom you fail to criticize despite their promotion of anti-gay themes.

    At least Anita didn’t sing about hating us.

  10. Rich F. says

    @ Jason (again): No, she just mercilessly campaigned to curtail our rights, spoke publicly and privately about how we were recruiting and molesting children, and used her not-inconsiderable influence to have laws passed against us.

    But you’re right. At least she didn’t *sing* about hating us… she’s a bloody saint.

    Incidentally, you clearly haven’t been paying attention, because homophobic rappers, hip-hop artists, and Jamaican dance hall singers have been getting an ENORMOUS amount criticism on these pages.

  11. BCLance says

    No, Jason, she didn’t have a point about what you call the hedonism of some homosexuals, because the conclusions she arrived at were, by and large, specious moralizing. She made claims about homosexuality that inextricably tied it to what she considered to be execrable behavior.

    Sex between consenting adults isn’t immoral, whether or not you engage in it in the way some gay men do or not. That I choose to do so in committed relationships doesn’t distinguish me morally from people who are more promiscuous, it means I have a different relationship to sex.

    More importantly, one doesn’t need to be a part of the gay party scene (I’m not) to recognize that there’s nothing valid about transforming people sexual habits into a question of morality. AIDs didn’t bear out her claims–that’s a facile and logically faulty assertion, unless you have no idea what her claims actually were. AIDs was a sad and unfortunate reality about which gay men during her heyday knew nothing. If anything, the crisis bears out the community’s ability to react to horrific events and adapt their sexual practices to curb the spread of a disease. As almost anyone in public health can tell you, the community’s response and organizing around the issue was quite impressive as a cohort-driven reaction to a public health disaster.

    As for Donna Summer, I’ll give her a break, but her memory of her comments cleans it up just a bit. At the end of the day, though, she is the one who wants to moralize about sex, which is what gay people, promiscuous or not, tend to object to. It’s unclear to me why that is at all confusing. One doesn’t need to be “addicted to hedonism” as you condescendingly claim to realize and object to that. One just needs to be addicted to sound reasoning.

  12. jason says

    I’m not moralizing about sex, I’m moralizing about how you treat your body and how you treat the concept of sex. I am entirely within my rights to do this. I have seen too many gay men behave like sex-mad zombies as they hop from one stranger to the next in a dark, smelly maze of cubicles.

    I would be just as harsh on straight guys who act like this with women.

    What gay men need to realize is that the days of hiding your promiscuity behind the gay rights banner are over. Finito, kaput. You will be criticized like anybody else.

  13. Jonathan says

    Anita Bryant did backtrack in the 80s after she had some bad things happen to her in her personal life. She became a “what people do behind closed doors is none of my business” type of person after that — not perfect but definitely better than she was.

  14. jason says

    Rich F,

    The Jamaican murder musicians may be getting a lot of attention on Towleroad but what about the American rappers and hip hop performers? American gays seem to be too afraid to criticize American performers.

    For instance, Eminem got away with blue murder when he was at his peak using words like “faggot” in his songs. Where was the gay community then? America’s young people bought his CD’s in droves, so what does that say about the American youth of today?

    Anita did say some horrible, prejudicial things about gay men that were totally incorrect and defamatory. However, she never sang about hating us in the way a number of musicians do today. At least give her credit for that.

  15. Troy says

    Is there really enough interest in Bryant’s life to warrant a film? That amazes me. No one under 30 knows who she is and no one over 30 cares, except Bryant, who is probably still dodging debt and stands to get some money and publicity out of this. She’ll end up thanking gay people for that pie in the face when a movie about it brings her a cash influx from the Sally Kerns of the world.

  16. Rich F. says

    @ Jason (yet bloody again): You clearly haven’t been paying any damned attention. At all. Ever.

    And, once again, I don’t bloody care that she didn’t sing about her hatred of us. The fact that she ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNED AGAINST US FOR YEARS, INSTIGATED AN UNPRECEDENTED OUTPOURING OF PUBLIC HATRED AGAINST US, AND FOUGHT IN FAVOR OF LAWS THAT ABRIDGED OUR RIGHTS far far far outweighs that little tidbit, which for some reason you seem to view as a saving grace.

    I think homophobic rappers are idiots, and potential instigators of violence. However, by and large they’re not politically engaged, and therefore the damage they cause can be contained and counteracted. Anita Bryant’s political connections and national soapbox for her propaganda were infinitely more damaging to us.

    Your inability to see the forest for the trees is demoralizing, to say the least.

  17. mymy says

    I was a junior in high school in Miami during the Anita period. Just coming into my own, and figuring out who I was. I watched in horror as WTVJ a local news station aired a live news report at Miami International Airport. Here Jerry Fawell had arrived to meet and assist Anita with her cause. He began the news conference with a prayer and then started to spew the most hateful, homophobic, demonizing retoric I have ever heard. Then Anita chimed in reinforcing Jerry Fawells words. It scared me! It scared me so much that I went right back in the closet for years.

    I always hated them for that. It changed me from a usually happy gay boy to a sometimes bully teenager who was conflicted and angry. Eventually, I grew out of the closet and made my life whole. But, sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Anita and Jerry had not entered my life. Just sayin……..

  18. Peter says

    After all the damage this woman and her kind have done to our people in the last 30+ years it’s a wonder that anyone wants to talk with her at all, let alone be her BFF.

  19. mike says

    Let’s see…Jason says:

    “demonized the homosexual orientation”
    “Some of you decry Anita Bryant”
    “What gay men need to realize”
    “Where was the gay community then?”

    Now, if I were writing those lines, I would have said “demonized OUR orientation” and “some of US decry..” and What WE need to realize” and “Where were WE then”.

    But then I’m GAY and, from his use of language, JASON PROBABLY ISN’T.

  20. tranquilo says

    @Jason. How other people have sex is neither yours nor Anita Bryant’s business. Sorry if “hedonism” bothers you, but the fact is, you can’t do anything about it anyway. Live your own prudish life and leave everyone else alone.

  21. GoodWillHumping says

    The woman has endeavored to ruin the lives of gay men for 40 years. She can rot in whatever tier of hell that religious bigots like her inhabit, along that inbred Phelps Klan, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, etc..
    She’ll get no sympathy from me. May the devil give her O.j. enemas for eternity.

  22. Craig says

    After all this time, I will STILL go with California OJ over Florida if I happen to be buying OJ. I realize that it has been a LONG time since she was the Florida OJ Queen, and I should probably “get over” the fact she was their spokesperson. Sorry, not gonna happen.

    Every time I hear of that woman, I have a visceral reaction. SHE brought this on herself. I refuse to be an apologist for her, and frankly consider anyone who DOES take her side to be either ignorant, or stupid, or having the same belief system she does. Anything to add Jason?

  23. corvidae says

    I don’t defend what she did in the past, but if she is sorry for the wrong she has done and the damage she has caused, this is a great opportunity to show our dignity and compassion as a community and forgive her.

  24. NE Rich says

    I find it many of the pious statements about 70’s “promiscuity” on this feed to be disingenuous and simply holier than thou, and those folks can basically kiss my gay butt.

    Having said that, this SICK woman was FAR more dangerous that anyone is seeing here. I say this as I was one of the “children” she was trying to “protect” growing up in those days (I was 14 when she came to noeriety) in small town America having to hear pious vultures like Bryant spew their evil. This was another time, yes before HIV/AIDS certainly but culturally before Will and Grace and Ellen and the idea a middle class gay “marriage” … Talk about BULLYING. This woman and the movement she started was BULLYING, bulling of all us kids from Harvey Milk’s ‘Altuna PA’ … GO TO HELL ANITA.

  25. Jonathan says

    What a sanctimonious prude. Yes, Gay men are prone to excess and hedonism – but you sound like an unattractive bore that would never be invited anywhere because you’re oh-so-above everyone else.

    You must be so perfect.

  26. says

    I’m sorry. But I lived through those days, and I will never forgive.
    Now she wants a gay freind without apologizing for anything. The arrogance of these creeps takes my breath away.
    Rot in hell, b—h.

  27. Steve says

    Either Jason has major problems dealing with guilt regarding his sexuality or he doesn’t remember what life under Chairman Anita was really like. We felt the backlash of her general hatred of gays even here in Australia.

    People whipped into holy frenzy by her rhetoric thought it was perfectly OK to bash or even kill in Her name.

  28. SteveK says

    @Jason, You said, ” I have seen too many gay men behave like sex-mad zombies as they hop from one stranger to the next in a dark, smelly maze of cubicles.”

    I’m just curious. What were you doing in a dark smelly maze of cubicles?

  29. Phil says

    I don’t know what may be in her heart now. I’ve done some bad things in my life that I regret too and I for one forgive her. I know what the community that reads towelroad is like and I denounce all the horrific comments made by people on this thread. It is not an accurate portrait of how Most gay people I know behave.

    I am nobody. However if I had the chance to meet her and talk with her I would show her she was wrong and show her unconditional love and respect. I would talk with her and tell her about my life and my hardships, what I’ve been through and learned as a gay man. And if she still felt the same way, I’d forgive her again.

    I see counterfeit christianity on a daily basis, especially in the USA. And I’m sure most of the people who say she should suffer, etc are not Christian but how can you point at people for being vile while being vile yourself????

    Sad to be so embarrassed of other gays online… I’m no angel when it comes to sex and I don’t tell other gays how to live their lives, but clearly we have seen from our history that we reap what we sew.

    Evil begets evil.

  30. Steve says

    If you want to see truly awesome hedonism you really only have to watch a bunch of drunken (heterosexual) football players after a match or at end of season. Those guys will stop at nothing!

  31. JASON says

    @STEVEK…I was trolling of course. But with God’s help I’ve come to see the evil of my ways. Of course I’m 75 years old now and can’t get an erection so of course I find the thought of sex disgusting…
    any sex, any time, any where. Since I can’t get it up…I’m a nasty bitter breeder looking to stir up trouble on gay forums.
    Next question?

  32. John says

    Jason, you’re an idiot. Either you hang out with a really unrepresentative group of gay men (in which case… why?), or you’re just a troll. I’m thinking more likely the latter, since I’ve never in my life heard a gay person say “homosexual orientation” with a straight face.

    Anita Hill will die, and the evil she left behind will live on after her. That’s her legacy to the world.

  33. truthteller says


    You write: “I have seen too many gay men behave like sex-mad zombies as they hop from one stranger to the next in a dark, smelly maze of cubicles.”

    You have seen this?
    What the hell where you doing there–in those dark, smelly maze of cubicles having sex with strangers? Did no body want to have sex with you there and and now you lash out against them to take revenge? It sounds to me like you are the promiscuous whore you criticize.

    You have no right to impose your misguided morals on others. You are no better than the odious right wingers who want to impose their “morality” on others who are total strangers to you and live by their own moral compass.

    If you think that because you are gay that gives you the right to demean other gay man, you are one crazy control freak.

  34. Southern Comfort says

    Using a toothpaste that isn’t fluoride-fortified will get you branded a “hedonist” in this fear-based society.

    Land of the repressed. Home of the tight-assed.

  35. says

    Back in May of 1977, I created the Anita Bryant’s Husband is a Homo-Sapien! T-shirt and outed myself nationally via a United Press International wire photo story, at a time it was not yet fashionable to do so,even in San Francisco!. A couple of weeks later I was able to get Jane Fonda to wear one at a Dade County Coalition fund raiser at Oil Can Harry’s Disco and that too made the Associated Press wire story. Anita Bryant was the best thing to happen to the gay rights movement… she gave it movement!
    She was able to bring all factions of our community together to fight back. On 6/7/77 Orange Tuesday, the day she led Dade County Florida voters to rescind a gay rights ordinance, Harvey Milk led 5,000 people on an impromptu march from the Castro to Union Square. I took an iconic image of Harvey, with a candle in one hand, his bullhorn in the other and a save our rights sign in the background. I took it over to the Associated Press, at first they said no, but I convinced them to run it because so many took part in the march over 2,000 miles away.
    That image introduced Harvey as an openly gay spokesperson against Bryuant 5 months before Harvey was elected as the 1st openly gay male politician from a major city. For the History of that image visit:

  36. justinw says

    Cried? Crocodile tears. I will never feel sympathy for Bryant. The damage she has done is too extensive and she has never, ever shown signs of repenting of it. Anita, do everybody a favor and just keep shuffling off to the sidelines.

  37. Jeffery says

    If Anita really is sorry about all those lies she told about us, and expects our absolution, she should publicly recant everything she said back then, because she PUBLICLY and shamelessly smeared us.

  38. J says

    “Every time I hear of that woman, I have a visceral reaction. SHE brought this on herself. I refuse to be an apologist for her, and frankly consider anyone who DOES take her side to be either ignorant, or stupid, or having the same belief system she does. Anything to add Jason?”

    Well said Craig!

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