Yes, I am a gay man and yes I do thank Anita Bryant. Why you ask? She did more to unite the gay community and create activism for our cause than anyone else I know. Recently HBO started airing the movie "MILK" and I have watched it several times. I was under the impression that Sean Penn was homophobic and that may be true but he played the part of Harvey Milk well. It brought back memories of that time and yes I too would have loved to place a dagger in her heart at the time. But hindsight is a powerful thing and I can see that it would have taken a lot longer for us to come to the point that we are today without her. It was because of the hatred that she spewed in the name of her religion that brought us together and caused us to fight back and fight harder. Harvey Milk was not a saint by any means but he had the courage to follow his heart and mind and make first steps toward the future.
Now we have the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill and that is a start. It doesn't insure peace yet but it is a start. Lawsuits will soon begin to follow so that the real strength of this bill will be seen. Perhaps the day will come when parents will learn to accept their gay children and not throw them out to the streets and real families can then thrive. Churches may come to understand that being Christian and gay is a possibility as many of us already know. No longer will bosses be able to fire people based on their sexual orientation. And soldiers will be able to serve no matter what their sexual identity is. I was one of those soldiers caught up in a witch hunt back in 1966. Not because I couldn't do my job and do it well, but because I was caught making love with my commanding officer.
So today I say, Thank You, Anita Bryant for all that you did to help up out.