Free shipping over $99 | Interest Free *no credit check* financing is available!

Orange Juice, Anita Bryant And The Queer Revolution

by matt baume August 20, 2016

anita

You owe it to yourself to take some time out of your day and learn about the dark, weird, juicy backstory of Anita Bryant. History-minded queers probably already know the broad strokes: she was a model and singer of some kind, and eventually an orange juice spokesmodel, and then an anti-gay activist at a time when you could still do that sort of thing.

Today, she’s a punch line — but a poetic article on Extra Crispy dives deep into her strange life.

Anita rose to fame in the 60s, first as a good-but-not-great pop singer and then as the voice of Florida’s Citrus Commission. She seemed wholesome and nice, just the sort of thing you’d want associated with a breakfast drink. There was a bit of an orange juice craze in those days — like milk during the depression, people thought of it as a sort of superbeverage crammed with important nutrition.

At the same time, LGBTs were demanding rights and equality; and for a few moments it seemed like we might actually be successful. There wasn’t much organized resistance to gay liberation in the 1970s, so when queers and allies got a little political power they were able to enact some protections. (This is why gay couples were able to marry, briefly, in the 1970s.)

But even though America didn’t have an anti-gay infrastructure yet, it did have a prevailing cultural prejudice, and it didn’t take much effort to whip citizens up into a panic about perverts. Anita Bryant capitalized on the ignorance of the time, attacking LGBTs as sick and dangerous. That touched off a massive gay boycott of orange juice. One one side you had civil rights activists of the time, including Harvey Milk; on the other, you had figures like Anita and Jerry Falwell (whose disgusting son just endorsed Donald Trump.)

The whole thing may have backfired, though. Anita gave the gay community an opportunity to speak up and fight back, and a population that used to be quiet and avoidant became electrified with new activism.

Anita’s still alive, though she’s never apologized or expressed regret. Reflecting back on the impact she’s had and her lingering, now-funny legacy, it must be hard not to feel like a waste of a life.




matt baume
matt baume

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Think

NOM’s Latest Protest Draws A Whopping Eleven People

by matt baume September 24, 2016

Can you believe the National Organization for Marriage still even exists? Of course, these days they’re mostly focused on trans bathroom policies and other countries, which makes them neither “National” nor “for Marriage.” And now it looks like they aren’t even organized, either. NOM just organized a rally at the Mexican embassy in Washington DC, a show of [...]

Continue Reading →

Woman Claims She Was Threatened, Spat Upon, And Bullied At Work For Being Heterosexual

by Graham Gremore September 24, 2016

“I’ve been spat on, I’ve had people scare me, I’ve had people contact me at work anonymously, saying ‘I know where your children go to school’,’” Cassandra Liebeknecht says. “There was also a gentleman who continues to this day to slander me for my sexuality.” Liebeknecht is the general manager of the Feast Festival, a popular [...]

Continue Reading →

Pita Tofua Returns To The Beach, Mykki Blanco Strikes A (Shirtless) Pose And Milo Yiannopoulos Dies

by matthew tharrett September 24, 2016

Just when you thought you were having a bad week, the ACLU slapped Kim Davis with a lawsuit, the gay Bachelor threatened to sue his anonymous online trolls, Troye Sivan’s nudes leaked, and gays started getting into monogamy. Here’s what you might of missed on Instagram: Orlando Bloom sparred with his shaolin master. Spanish actor [...]

Continue Reading →