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The Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York's Greenwich Village in 1969, are quite often placed at the center of any discussion about the history of the gay movement. Take, for example, the history textbook my class is using, which offers this brief assessment of the gay liberation movement:

In 1969, a police raid on the bar at the Stonewall Inn in New York City sparked the Gay Liberation Movement. Gay men fought back against the police raid, proclaiming "Gay Power." The riot propelled many gay men and lesbians into politics and political activism, advocating for legal equality such as marriage rights.
While, for many gays and lesbians, Stonewall was the event that propelled them into political activism, that is not the case across the board. As we produce more and more scholarship on LGBT history, we are finally beginning to understand that the Stonewall-, East Coast-centric story was just one trajectory American gays and lesbians followed. For example, historian Nan Alamilla Boyd argues in her book on queer San Francisco, Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965, that Stonewall was not the central event in the development of San Francisco's gay community. In fact, as Boyd makes clear in the book, gays and lesbians in San Francisco had already secured by 1969 some of the basic protections demanded by the post-Stonewall gay liberation movement on the East Coast. San Francisco, of course, experienced its own "Stonewall" moments that spurred gays to action, such as the mayoral election of 1959 and the raid on the Tay-Bush Inn in 1961. The message here is not that gays and lesbians outside of the East Coast did not need moments such as Stonewall to ignite their local movements, but that Stonewall itself did not serve as the universal moment that inspired all gays and lesbians to join the movement for change.

This argument is made even clearer if we look at Houston, a city with a thriving LGBT community and history which has not yet been examined in a scholarly book. However, a 1983 Master's thesis was produced by University of Houston history student Bruce Remington (since deceased), titled "Twelve Fighting Years: Homosexuals in Houston, 1969-1981," which looks at the development and evolution of Houston's gay community. Much of this diary is based on Remington's work.

Not surprisingly, Houston's gay history does not fit into the pre-Stonewall/post-Stonewall mold we often take for granted. Over 1,600 miles from Greenwich Village, Houston was not significantly impacted by the Stonewall Riots or the ensuing mass organization of gays and lesbians. A very small gay liberation movement did form on the University of Houston campus after Stonewall, but it quickly died. The healthy LGBT community that Houston enjoys today did not fully mature until eight years after Stonewall, when the city's gays and lesbians experienced their own "Stonewall" moment: the arrival of anti-gay bigot extraordinaire Anita Bryant to sing at the Texas State Bar Association's meeting downtown. If you don't know much about Anita Bryant, do look her up, but this Wikipedia summary is what you need to know for now:

Anita Jane Bryant (born March 25, 1940) is an outspoken critic of homosexuality, American singer, and former Miss Oklahoma beauty pageant winner. She scored four Top 40 hits in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "Paper Roses", which reached #5. She later became known for her strong views against homosexuality and for her campaigning in 1977 to repeal a local ordinance in Dade County, Florida, that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, an involvement that significantly damaged her popularity and career in show business.
Follow me below the fold, but first, shudder to an Anita Bryant orange juice commercial:

The story of Houston's gay community can be traced back a very long time, as you may suspect, but we are going to start in the 1960s, when the gay neighborhood of Montrose really took off. Although it might be hard to believe now for those familiar with the area, Montrose used to be a really cheap place to live. The very low rent attracted many single gay men, who did not exactly have much disposable income, to the neighborhood. Soon, bars catering to gays sprung up. By 1968, there were 26 gay bars in town, and the number was growing. Montrose soon became known citywide as the gay center of the city, a reputation that persists to this day. To be sure, many--in fact, most--gays and lesbians reside outside of Montrose, but the gay political energy and social opportunities are centered in the neighborhood.

As Montrose morphed into a gay political center, the gay community began to really take shape. Much of this development revolved around the creation of gay publications. In 1970, Nuntias began its run, which lasted until 1977. Nuntias was basically a bar guide, but it also offered some news. In 1974, Contact--a gay newspaper with a national audience with a headquarters in Houston--was published for the first time and lasted until 1975, when it was absorbed by The Advocate. By 1976, Houston's gays and lesbians had their own local newspaper, the Montrose Star. This paper folded in 1979, when the Montrose Voice picked up where the Star had left off. The Pointblank Times began its run in 1975 and covered lesbian/feminist issues. The point is that, by the 1970s, gay and lesbian community depended, to a large extent, on gay and lesbian publications.

The Wilde and Stein bookshop (named for Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein) was also an important development in Houston's gay community. In an era of anti-gay repression, the bookshop offered gays and lesbians the opportunity to read literature in which queers were featured. There was also a Wilde and Stein radio show around this time that discussed gay issues on the air.

Establishing a gay community center proved a more difficult task, due to infighting and disunity. Several ventures failed. However, gays and lesbians did establish gay interest groups, such as the Montrose Players, the Montrose Art Association, and the Montrose Sports Association.

The history of gay political activism in Houston is also important to consider. Houston did not have a gay civil rights organization until 1968, when present-day gay leader and icon Ray Hill formed the Promethean Society with David Patterson and Rita Wanstrom. However, it was a short-lived organization, and it died in 1970 due to internal conflict and lack of support. Shortly after the organization's demise, Ray Hill was arrested for burglary and sentenced to twenty eight-year sentences in prison. However, he was released early and continued his gay activism in the 1970s.

As I mentioned above, the gay liberation movement did have some ripple effects in Houston. A chapter of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was established on the University of Houston campus in 1970, where it pursued a radical, idealistic agenda. Take, for example, the organization's mission statement:

We, the brothers and sisters of the Houston Gay Liberation Front declare ourselves a political group. We are liberating ourselves from oppression and suppression, both of which comes from oppressive social forces. We are gay, getting our heads together, loving one another. We will be free.
Among the group's goals were the establishment of people's courts and the abolition of the nuclear family, which, the organization maintained, perpetuated discrimination. Needless to say, such militant gay organizing on a state university's campus did not sit well with certain legislators. Republican State Representative A.S. Bowers of Houston conducted an investigation into the Student Association's funding of the GLF (and other groups perceived to be radical) and attempted to get the funding pulled. The Houston chapter of the GLF folded in 1973, due, in part, to its radicalism. Their agenda only attracted a very small sliver of the available gay community. Their place on campus was filled in 1975 by the more reform-oriented Gay Activists Alliance.

The same year the GLF was founded in Houston, another group, Integrity, sprung up. Integrity was formed by a collection of people who met at the Holy Rosary Church. The group was much less militant and radical than the GLF in that it aimed to reform society, not to restructure it. Unlike the GLF, Integrity enjoyed quite a long run in Houston.

In 1973, members of the Montrose Gaze, a gay community center, formed the Gay Political Coalition. Like Integrity, this group was focused on political reform, and it appeared more than once before the City Council to argue for an end to job discrimination and police harassment. It also advocated for the creation of a citizens' liaison panel with the Houston Police Department (HPD), the recognition of gays and lesbians by the Human Relations Council, and a proclamation declaring a Gay Pride Week. Republican Mayor Louie Welch--who, in 1985, would state on the evening news that his AIDS plan was to "shoot the queers"--ignored these demands, of course. The group also faced opposition from some members of the City Council. City Council Member Frank Mann told the Gay Political Coalition: "You’re abnormal. You need to see a psychiatrist instead of City Council."

Gay and lesbian political activists also faced enormous opposition on the state level. Houston activists tried their hand at organizing for change on the state level by putting their weight in 1975 behind Senate Bill 127, which would have repealed Article 21.06, the statute making gay sex a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 fine. The bill was widely ridiculed and lambasted in the legislature, supported only by a few allies. It was, of course, roundly defeated.

The treatment of their cause by Texas legislators spurred Ray Hill, along with Pokey Anderson (representing lesbians), Jerry Miller (representing Integrity), and Rev. Robert Falls (representing the gay Metropolitan Community Church), to hold a press conference that year announcing the formation of the Gay Political Caucus (GPC). The GPC, like the preceding Gay Political Coalition, focused on political issues such as the repeal of 21.06, job discrimination, and the ability of gays and lesbians to file joint income tax returns. The organization also mailed questionnaires to candidates in city elections to gauge their stances on gay issues. The gay community in Houston, it appeared, was growing by leaps and bounds. Ray Hill put it this way:

Up until now, I was the only faggot with a face and name in this town.
Jerry Miller put it a tad more delicately:
In the sixties, if you were gay, you were a political radical. The community is more broad based now.
But the community still had a great deal of growing to do before it could exercise political clout in the city.

A couple of events would help enhance the gay community's ability and political muscle.

First, Harris County Comptroller of the Treasury Gary van Ooteghem happened. I'll explain: At the time of the press conference announcing the formation of the GPC, van Ooteghem was in Washington, D.C., meeting with an Air Force sergeant who had admitted his homosexuality and been dismissed. The sergeant fought his dismissal, an act that inspired van Ooteghem, who saw the sergeant as a role model. Van Ooteghem returned to Houston and immediately informed his boss, Harris County Treasurer Harsell Gray, that he planned to attend a Harris County Commissioners' Court and make the case for gay and lesbian civil rights. He was informed that political activity was not allowed, but he attended the meeting anyway, proposing a resolution affirming gay and lesbian civil rights and also admitting that he himself was gay. He was immediately dismissed from his position, an act that he fought as unfair.

The van Ooteghem affair attracted a great deal of publicity. In the process, it attracted the attention of the recently-formed GPC, whose leaders approached van Ooteghem about getting involved in gay politics. A month after his appearance before the Harris County Commissioners' Court, van Ooteghem became the GPC's first official president.

The second event that spurred more gays and lesbians to activism was less one event and more a pattern of police harassment by the HPD against the gay community. In 1976, after a very brief honeymoon between gays and the HPD, police raided Exile Bar, a gay establishment, and arrested 36 people. The same year, police shot and killed Inside/Outside bartender Gary Wayne Stock, who police claimed ran a red light and sped off. He was allegedly shot in "self-defense." The gay community, however, was not buying it.

In the meantime, in 1977, Ray Hill (who held no formal position in the GPC) and the GPC leadership clashed over Hill's outspoken activism, often in front of the City Council itself. The GPC seemed to address Hill directly when it put forth this message:

Our approach is that we are reasonable people making legitimate complaints. We dress and speak like the people whose help we are seeking. Confrontation is avoided.
Hill formed his own group that year, the Houston Human Rights League, which was soon overshadowed by events later in the year.

All of this led up to June 16, 1977, when--I would argue--Houston's "Stonewall" moment occurred. And now, we return to the subject of Anita Bryant.

In 1977, the Texas State Bar Association was planning to hold its meeting at the Hyatt in downtown Houston on June 16. The association sent out 28,500 pamphlets to its members with Anita Bryant's face on them, advertising her scheduled appearance at the meeting to sing country and patriotic songs.

When Houston's gays and lesbians caught wind of the plan, they very quickly mobilized to stop the event from happening. It says something about how far the community had come that the association very quickly rescinded the invitation. But a few days later, claiming a "mistake" was made, the association sent a second invitation to Bryant--this time, only to sing.

Gays and lesbians, once again, sprung into action. They were unable to stop Bryant from appearing at the meeting, but on the night of June 16, approximately 3,000 gays and lesbians assembled in the parking lot of the Depository Bar, a massive crowd by any standard. The crowd marched past the Hyatt to the Houston Public Library, where they were addressed by David Goodstein (publisher of The Advocate), Rev. Troy Perry (founder of the Metropolitan Community Church), and actress Liz Torres. Demonstrators wore black armbands with pink triangles on them, intentionally invoking the memory of the Holocaust. The crowd ended up swelling to between 8,000 and 10,000 people, many of whom assumed the personal risk of publicly joining a gay demonstration.

Meanwhile, at the Hyatt, Bryant received a standing ovation, and only ten attorneys wearing black armbands walked out of the meeting.

But, whether she realized it or not, Bryant benefited Houston's gay community greatly by coming to town. Larry Bagneris, a future GPC president, called the gay demonstration "the first major political act that we, as gay people, took on in Houston." Similarly, Ray Hill remembers:

She really did us a favor by coming out against us. After Anita spoke here, things started coming together like they never had before.
Indeed, gays and lesbians joined political organizations and became active in the fight for equality in record numbers after Bryant's visit. Very soon, the gay community was taken quite seriously in city politics. Politicians started actually seeking a GPC endorsement. Even the conservative mayoral candidate Jim McConn recognized the power of the gay community in post-Bryant Houston:
I don’t intend to address the gay community, but I will say that no one in a McConn administration would last if they went and harassed the gay community.
Kathy Whitmire, future mayor and staunch gay ally, made history when she won the City Controller race with a GPC endorsement. Whitmire's election proved that a GPC endorsement was not the kiss of death many politicians in the past had perceived it to be. In fact, as politicians in Houston would come to realize, the gay bloc could help elect somebody to office.

A year later, in 1978, the GPC signed onto a Ray Hill idea: Town Meeting I. Town Meeting I was a novel idea aimed at increasing gay and lesbian activism at the grassroots level. Held in Astroarena, it was a very large public meeting of any gay men and lesbians who wanted to attend. The meeting tackled a variety of issues, including disabled gays and lesbians, inclusion of women in gay organizations, job and medical discrimination, discrimination within the gay community, and legal reform. Although initially a success, there was no Town Meeting II because of a controversy arising from Hill's decision to allow cameras in the meeting (which, many argued, violated participants' privacy). What Town Meeting I showed, though, was the maturation of the gay community and the expansion of the gay grassroots. The same day that Town Meeting I opened, the Houston Post ran an article about the increasing political clout of the gay community in city politics.

Indeed, by 1980--due, in large part, to the organizing inspired by Anita Bryant's visit--Houston's gay community achieved a level of organization and political clout that was unprecedented in the city's history. It would continue to play an enormous role in city politics until the mid-1980s, when the AIDS crisis and the anti-gay backlash provoked by Mayor Kathy Whitmire's push for a gay-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance (which I discussed here) stripped the community of much of its power. However, the Houston LGBT community would weather the storm of the 1980s. Today, the LGBT community continues to play a large role in Houston politics. And, of course, we have this lady in the mayor's office:

So thank you, Anita Bryant. Your hate only inspired a broad-based movement for equality in Houston.

Originally posted to Remembering LGBT History on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, History for Kossacks, and Houston Area Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More on Anita Bryant (21+ / 0-)

    The Florida Orange Juice campaign was national. Much the same way politically aware people stopped buying table grapes to support Cesar Chavez in the late 1960s the Florida Orange Juice people had already become the target of a boycott by the time she appeared in Houston because of her anti-gay activity in Miami (which I guess I'll have to diary about some time soon).

    Thank you also for the attempt to decenter Stonewall, which I don't think we'll ever be able to do now after Obama's Second Inaugural Address. There's more from San Francisco to decenter it in the diary I published to inaugurate this group last April.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:37:07 PM PDT

  •  Thank you SO much for writing this. (16+ / 0-)

    Houston was my home when I came out in High School, and Montrose was my home for many years after that. From 1982 until 2002 I lived--with some interruptions--in Houston and much of that time in the 7006 zip code (my HS was in that zip code, too, ie, Montrose). Houston has long had a vibrant LGBT community, teeming with history such as that you diary about tonight. Thank you for telling the story.

    The importance of Ray Hill in Texas activism cannot be overstated. Not only a champion of LGBT rights, he is also a fierce advocate for prisoners and against the death penalty. It was great to see my friend's name.

    Wonderful diary, Chris.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:39:21 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary. (8+ / 0-)

    And thank you for this sentiment:

    So thank you, Anita Bryant. Your hate only inspired a broad-based movement for equality in Houston.
    May history show that other haters currently rampant in society, have merely galvanized effective democratic-humanist movements for change.

    I'm in the Bay Area. I was smiling when you referred to Houston's Montrose District as an initially cheap, turned "expensive" area. As expensive as SF's Castro neighborhood, you mean :)? Heck, as expensive as Telegraph Avenue (in Oakland) at 51st???

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:44:59 PM PDT

    •  Heh, well (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, karmsy, Aunt Pat, Steveningen

      Montrose isn't that expensive...I have a couple of grad school friends who live there. It's not the most expensive neighborhood in the city, and I think the property values are pretty diverse today. But the rent can be a little high. I know when I was apartment shopping, I wanted to live in Montrose, but I couldn't afford most of the apartments. It's definitely more expensive today than it was back when it was in the process of becoming a gay neighborhood. Maybe we gays sent the property values up. :p

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:49:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Montrose is extremely expensive these days (5+ / 0-)

      It became hip to move in to the city in the mid to late 90's and slowly but surely the cute bungalows and brick fourplexes and small apartment buildings that lined the streets purchased by affluent suburbanites and torn down (some were renovated) in order to put up what is commonly known as McMansions. Property values soared. The exodus of many non-affluent LGBT folks was already underway before I left Houston, at that time mostly to the Heights.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:50:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was priced out of the Montrose (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steveningen, Chrislove

        in the 70's mostly due to well off gays moving in and remodeling old houses that really did need renovation. It's interesting that gays are now being priced out by even wealthier folks putting up MaMansions. Sad though.

        working for a world that works for everyone ...

        by USHomeopath on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:04:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stonewall, Bryant, and Tucson (11+ / 0-)

    In Tucson in the 70s one of the popular gay bars was the Stonewall, commonly called "The Wall."

    When Anita Bryant came to town, we organized a fairly large protest demonstration. By this time, the Gay Student Organization was active on the University of Arizona campus (I was the faculty adviser for the group). The demonstration was certainly different from the many  anti-war and pro-union demonstrations that I had been in. I am convinced that if we had not had highly visible police protection, the Christians would have willingly killed us.


  •  Anita Bryant brought the bigots out ot their (7+ / 0-)

    wood work and mobilized the LGBT community to fight back.  I'm glad she's gone; she served up hate that proved unacceptable to most Americans.  Boston had a similar experience to Houston.  We had a massive rally in Copley Square in the middle of Boston.  Anita Bryant thought better of peddling her hate in Boston and left town.

  •  I can concede that Anita Bryant may (9+ / 0-)

    have been sincere in her opposition to same-sex relationships, but at the core, she had no point.  

    It was of interest that in taking her opposition national, she did what chrislove says -- she "inspired a broad-based movement for equality" -- in Houston and elsewhere.  

    I lived in New York at the time.  People who didn't give a hoot in hell for Anita Bryant one way or the other suddenly wondered what her damn problem was.  She had a lucrative gig selling OJ on the tube and was honored as a beauty queen contestant and so-so vocalist.  

    Not bad, considering.  

    On the other hand, she started talking about oral sex, and it sounded like she knew less about it than most 6th graders.  

    Modern times have left Anita Bryant's anti-gay bullshit in the far dust.  I still remember that campaign, but very quickly, common sense and progressive reform began to bury the story, until eventually the tide turned toward an exact opposite outcome.  IMO, it would be fair to call her campaign a devastating failure.  

    She had better things to do than whine hateful and discriminatory things about lesbians and gay men.  She picked a fight, she got one, and she lost.  

    I loved this diary.

  •  Back in northwest PA (4+ / 0-)

    (your point of origin), no one in Erie was publicly out of the closet before Mike Mahler, the publisher of the Erie Gay News, and that only happened in the early '90s.  He gave an interview to the Erie Times-News.  Golly.  There's a gay man in Erie. PA.  I'm not sure that counts as Erie's Stonewall, but then Erie tends to lag way behind the rest of the US in some ways, and Erie's LGBT community is pretty diffuse.

    Now, of course, we have Jessie and Ricardo, who have made their relationship into a literal work of art.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:52:53 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for the history! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, Chrislove

    Fascinating read, much appreciated.

  •  Woah, did you dredge up some memories... (5+ / 0-)

    I was a student at Oberlin College in those days. When Bryant was on her hate tour she made an appearance in Bowling Green in Northwestern Ohio. A bunch of folks from Oberlin and Kent went to demonstrate against her hate campaign.

    It was a macabre scene, and still hardly seems real to me. She appeared on stage in a scorching blaze of light. Her makeup was almost phosphorescent - whiter than white. And her hair was an unnatural shade of red. She was wearing flowing robes that could have been designed by a mortician...

    I usually avoid judging people on their appearance. God knows I'm no fashion horse. But Anita Bryant on stage remains a vivid memory. One of the most viscerally repellant images I've ever experienced.

    'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

    by Eddie L on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:19:21 PM PDT

    •  Oh, regarding Bryant, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      didn't she sort-of kind-of apologize later? I don't think she ever fully admitted how hateful her actions were, but I think she expressed a bit of regret for the hurt she caused.

      As I recall, she later divorced her husband/manager, and the "christian" community turned on her with a vengeance. It was after that that she expressed regret over her hate campaign. It was one of those "hate the sin, love the sinner" things, so not a very convincing apology. Still, I suspect she did experience a twinge of remorse after experiencing the "christian" hate machine first-hand.

      'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

      by Eddie L on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:25:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't find any refernce to the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chrislove, Remediator, Tennessee Dave

        pseudo-apology, but I did find this about the divorse:

        Anita Bryant's Hubby Dies Full of Hatred, Bigotry & Blaming Gays
        What a sickening spectacle.

        'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

        by Eddie L on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:47:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't heard about a sorta-apology (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eddie L, Remediator, Tennessee Dave, sfbob

        But I do know she provided a blurb for Sally Kern's autobiography:

        I was before her time, but Sally Kern is here for such a time as this. I am grateful for her life and her friendship. Reading The Stoning of Sally Kern was at times like déjà vu, reminding me of my stand in Dade County in 1977. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who loves God, their family, and their country. It is a must-read for any believing woman or man who wants to make a difference in these perilous times. Those soldiers who have counted the cost of character assassination or endured other losses yet are willing to take a stand in truth and love for the glory of God, our children, and future generations will especially enjoy this inspiring book.

        Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

        by Chrislove on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:50:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There in the mid-80s, there is (4+ / 0-)

    Mayor Louie Welch stating that his AIDS plan was "to shoot the queers."

    By 1986, homosexual orientation was entirely removed from the DSM index.  I hope no one was shot by mayoral order between 1985, when Welch made his statement, and 1986, when shrinks and other behavioral health specialists, researchers, and social scientists institutionalized a little common sense.  

    I'd like to hear Rachel Maddow interview Anita Bryant tomorrow or the next day, with a view toward getting Anita's take on current initiatives in several states.  Prop 8 is up before the Court.  What will it say to someone like Anita Bryant if the ruling goes against Prop 8?  

  •  This is historical... (4+ / 0-)

    ... although it was way before Stonewall.  This article was a link in one of my genealogy newsletters.  I found the bios inspiring, and the photos at the link indicate these individuals were strong, with a sense of resolve and confidence that I personally admire in people.

    The women who fought as men: Rare Civil War pictures of female soldiers who dressed up as males to fight | Mail Online
    [Bios and photos at link.]
    The women who fought as men: Rare American Civil War pictures show how females disguised themselves so they could go into battle
    Some enlisted alongside their husbands as they couldn't bear to be apart
    They often served with distinction fighting in dozens of battles
    One even chose to remain a man once the war had ended
    As far as Anita Bryant goes, I never liked her way back when, and I still don't like her, in addition to disagreeing with her political and religious nuttiness.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:17:34 PM PDT

  •  You know (4+ / 0-)
    This argument is made even clearer if we look at Houston, a city with a thriving LGBT community and history which has not yet been examined in a scholarly book.
    Houston would be lucky if you had your hand in rectifying this oversight. Excellent diary, Chris. Brian is going to love this one.
  •  I married my first husband ub 1977 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, Remediator, efrenzy, Chrislove

    Since  it was a smallish wedding (my damned family took up most of the space), we decided to do a fannish wedding in the style of Nine Princes in Amber. Lots of schtick and allowing people we wanted to invite but couldn't--and we chose the Worldcon in Miami.

    Mind you this was Anita Bryant's home turf. And sf fans aren't wild-eyed right0wingers or even particularly Christian.  We arived on Wed. By TH, they'd sold out of "Happy Gays Are Here Again" buttons, the proceeds going to some gay political group (I didn't know which, still don't).  Everybody, gay and straight, hated Bryant.   They had to make more buttons.

    And I think had she ared to show up, simeone in a Darth Vader costume wouldlikely have removed her from the premises.

    The other convention, which followed ours, had started to have its members arrive. It was the Baptists.  ANd this was the year Star Wars Came out.  ANd there was an excellent WOokie costume (hte maker got hired by Lucasfilm).

    I was in a wheelchair, having sprained my ankle badly,and this tiny little older Black lady in a pillbox, a Sunday dress and pearls, is staring fixedly on the ground. And then the elel=vator door opened. And inside is the WOokie. This poor old woman saw hairy feet, then her head titled back and kept tilting.

    She took the next elevator.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:56:32 PM PDT

    •  Ha! I was a poor college student (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remediator, Chrislove, irishwitch

      then...working part time in a gay bar for a bit of cash-on-hand.  (The tips sucked, btw.)  Hadn't yet been to my first WorldCon -- that was years away.

      But I remember the boycott against orange juice b/c of Anita Bryant and her hateful speeches.

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:22:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let she who is without sin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Cast the 1st orange

    From a sign at the rally opposing her visit to Austin,
    it musta been right after her HOU tour...
    seams like just a few seasons ago.

    last time the Klan came here to march
    Molly Ivins gathered up ~300 people
    who MOONED them
    they havent been back since

    Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 11:31:33 PM PDT

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