Forty-three years ago today, Made County, Florida repealed the anti-discrimination ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Lead by the former Oklahoma beauty queen Anita Bryant’s coalition “Save Our Children”, boycott and protests immediately erupted all over North America. A longtime Florida orange juice spokeswoman, gay bars all over stopped serving screwdrivers and replaced them with the “Anita Bryant Cocktail”, which was made with vodka and apple juice. Proceeds went to gay right activists to help fight against her and her campaign. That same year, Florida legislators approved a measure prohibiting gay adoption. The ban stayed in place for 30 years. Later that year, Bryant became one of the first people to be publicly “pied” as a political act. She quipped “At least it’s a fruit pie.” Fruit, as in gay. She then began to pray to God to forgive the activist “for his deviant lifestyle” as her tears mixed with the banana cream. Her husband followed the protesters outside and threw a pie at them.
Pies were more immediately accessible in the 1970s.
The Florida orange juice boycott grew stronger through the support of A-List celebrities, while Christian Fundamentalist Bryant became a regular punchline on late night television. She lost her orange juice job, new employment offers dried up, she divorced her husband, married a new one, and left a trail of unpaid taxes, employee wages, and bankruptcies for the next 30 years.
Activism works. Boycotts work. Keep fighting my brothers and sisters.