Anita Bryant

In 1977, singer Anita Bryant began spearheading the “Save Our Children” campaign, which aimed to repeal a Dade County, Florida, ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The campaign was successful, and was heartily condemned by members of the gay community and their allies.

On August 19, 1977, Bryant attended the Miss National Teenager Pageant, which was held in Atlanta. Bryant was invited to attend as she had been voted “America’s Great American” by the contestants. Protesters took to the streets in opposition.

Jack Scott interviewing Anita Bryant, 1960s
Pride parade vendor selling “Anita Bryant Sucks” t-shirts, 1977
Open Door, Georgia State’s Perimeter College paper, describing Anita Bryant’s ‘Save the Children Campaign’ as a motive to discriminate against gays., 1977-05-05
Gay rights protesters picket the Miss National Teenager pageant, opposing the choice of Anita Bryant as “America’s Greatest American” by the 3,500 pageant finalists, Atlanta, Georgia, August 1977. 
The Georgia State University Signal, 1977-07-05 
Photograph — Pride parade participant wearing a “Fuck Anita Bryant” t-shirt, 1977

Bryant Returns to Atlanta

Bryant returned to Atlanta in June of 1978, to serve as keynote speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention. Almost 2,000 protesters – members of the LGBT+ communities as well as allies – picketed at the Georgia World Congress Center.


One of the unique things about march is that there were a number of straight people walking with us, and I think of a lot of them, it was the first time that they had in fact stood by us. And some of them spoke out at the rally.”
Anne Fauvre, From Stonewall to the Millenium Panel, June 2000
 
Thank God for Anita Bryant, because she really brought things to a head through her hate and intolerance. When she started her campaign, it really brought it into the media. People started really paying attention.”
Andrew Wood, June 24, 2014

“Anita Bryant greeted by Atlanta gays” 
Newspaper clipping — “Whap! Anita Hit With Sticky Pie”, circa 1978
Magazine clipping and front page — Cruise weekly magazine: “Protest Your Rights!” 
Flyer — “Demonstrate Against Anita Bryant” 
Flyer — March at Central City Park downtown and rally in front of the World Congress Center
Gay rights activists protest Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign, during her participation in the Southern Baptist Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 1978.
Magazine clipping — Cliff Jahr, “Anita Bryant’s Startling Reversal”
Newspaper clipping from the Associated Press — Gay Rights March in 1980, mocking Anita Bryant’s recent divorce, juxtapossed of her ‘family values’ and ‘Save the Children’ campaign