Monday, July 30, 2007


I think that the majority of my LGBT friends who read here are not old enough to remember Anita Bryant. I'll give you the quick & dirty lowdown, you can google for more - the things I'm talking about here all happened in the 1970's and early 1980's.

Anita Bryant was a celeb of some kind - but by the time she became involved with the Florida Orange Growers, she was older and no longer very marketable. She featured heavily in their advertising schpiels and helped popularize the phrase "A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine".

Anita Bryant was also a bigotted bitch who hid behind her "Christianity" in order to promote her bigotry against homosexuals. She became very vocal - very nastily vocal - and at one point even advocated murder of gay individuals - all in the name of "Goodness" and "Christianity".

Eventually the Florida Orange Growers dropped Ms. Bryant as spokeswench, due to her negative impact on the sales of Florida Orange Juice. The boycott worked.

At the time, one of my closest friends, "Dippy" (R.I.P.), a gay man whom I had met during college, was living in California and involved with a man who was very active in the gay rights movement. Dippy and I had always had a "live and let love" attitude toward our differing sexual orientations, and had never had a problem with each other. He knew how HORRIFIED I was at the bigotry and nastiness coming from the Christian Conservatives, and that I had helped support the orange boycott, and believed even then that just because he preferred men didn't make him less human or less able to love. Remember, I grew up LCMS, and my parents were EXTREMELY religious.

One night I got a phone call from Dippy. He was pumped up, had just gotten back from a rally that he had attended with his S.O., and apparently forgot to whom he was speaking. "You know" he said "one of these days the world will change, and the gays will have the power, we will be able to make the laws and right the wrongs. We'll put the breeders in their place and they'll take the position they SHOULD have - they're only good for making more gays anyhow!"

I found a way to end the call gracefully - I'm not sure how.

The next day I wrote him a very long letter. I told him how disappointed I was to hear that he thought I was nothing but a "Breeder" and good for nothing but making babies to turn out gay. I told him I thought we were closer friends than that, and that his saying something like that - dehumanizing straight people - was the equivalent of what Anita Bryant was doing - in reverse.

I followed a link on a friend's blog to a site run by a college-aged woman who is struggling with the concept of being able to accept herself as a fat person, and where she questioned whether she could still belong to the "self acceptance" group of fat people if she were looking to diet with the goal of losing weight.

On in the comments to her post, one individual told her flat out - no. If you want to lose weight, then you are not fat accepting and essentially went to great lengths to ostracize her, and anyone who agreed with her, in much the same way as Dippy had begun to ostracize "Breeders". When I spoke up and said that there are MANY reasons for being on a diet - including things like having Type II Diabetes and not wanting to have the doctors cut your feet off, he became very belligerant, and defensive - and offensive.

There are people out there who want to change the world. Who want to make this place a better place for everyone. People who want to end racism, sexism, fatism, religious bigotry, hate, war, lies, the bush presidency, poverty...

People... please... listen to me. The way to make this happen is NOT by ostracizing and alienating those who support your position, but who are not precisely the same as yourself. Accept the small victories. Do not expect everyone to be on the same page as yourself - understand that there will ALWAYS be some who are more enlightened than you - and some who will be less. Be patient with those who are struggling to "see the light" in terms of social or spiritual change and who are ON YOUR SIDE.

I am the first to admit that I lose my patience with stupid people. Especially stupid people who try to flaunt their "intelligence". Stupid people who claim knowledge they do not have - then turn around and pretend they were saying something else when you call them on it. I work at it sporadically, but usually I just move on. Personal flaw? Yeah. Something that is a priority for me at this moment? No - because you can change the world in some ways, but you can't make an idiot smarter.

countdown on post below


Leandra said...

Something I'm seeing more of as time goes by is a general divisiveness and lack of respect and civility in our society. It's not enough to hold a position, people have to all but literally club everyone else into submission as well. Not persuade....force. This is true on abortion, gay rights, or any other issue you might want to discuss.

I'm not saying that anyone has to compromise their beliefs, but it's more than past time that people begin to say as Sew does, while we don't agree we can still be friends. She and I disagree on any number of things, but it wouldn't occur to me to love her any less because of it. When we hit such an impasse we agree to disagree or agree to wait and see if it's something where there will be a conclusion one way or the other.

I feel sad when I hear about people talking like her gay friend. They so desperately want acceptance and to be allowed to lead their lives without hate and acrimony and yet they are guilty of the same biased bovine excrement as their worst detractors. I wonder how they justify that?

Peacechick Mary said...

Live and Let Live - with emphasis on the first Live - that's my motto.

BBC said...

I love posts like this. Have you heard of the 'Great Awakening'?

If not, you will start becoming more aware of it in the future. Us idiots are not as stupid as you think we are. :-)

And you attack plenty of folks yourself, just look back through your posts too see what I mean.

Sewmouse said...

Obviously your reading comprehension skills are showing again, BBC. You read something and digest perhaps 1/10th of it, then put your own spin on it and pretend it says something other than it does.

The post is about people who attack those who are ON THEIR SIDE - not about people who attack those who are obviously in the WRONG.

But then, you are just another shallow male who thinks he's smart.

I've met several like that. Mike the Drunk, for instance. He too thought that what he pulled out of his ass was "spiritual truth".


Anonymous said...

Hi Sew. This is a terrific post and also Leandras comment about clubbing everyone else into submission.

I'm glad you wrote the letter to Dippy explaining how you felt about his prejudicial ways. Did he respond to your letter?

I remember Anita Bryant. She used her celebrity status to promote dangerously ignorant beliefs. Scary to think there was and still is a whole army of haters behind that belief system.

Sewmouse said...

Yes, he did respond, Babzy. I probably should have mentioned that.

Dippy wasn't stupid by a long shot, and he called me to thank me for the "wake-up smack upside the head" as he put it.

The thing is, while we are crusading for our beliefs and for the betterment of all things, we need to watch that we do not turn into that which we are protesting.

Anonymous said...

This is a rather timely post to me. I won't bore you with why but I will engage my brain a little more in future.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I remember that self righteous Bitch in Florida only too well. She cost me four weeks of vacation time, to go down there and protest. It was worth it. She was ran into the ground.

But if you get around, or in, any Fundie gathering, you'll see a hundred Anita Bryant's. I think they clone the damn things!..(:

But then, you are just another shallow male who thinks he's smart.
One of the few times I've been glad my stupidity often shows.:)

P.S. BBC: Don't worry. The skin will grow back...snicker!:)