Gay protests - 1970s

Gay Rights - just a place at the table.

Gay Pride – Gay Rights – The View From Dade County – June 15, 1977 – Past Daily Reference Room

Gay Rights – just a place at the table.

– Fruit Punch – Orange Tuesday Analysis – Northern California Gay Men’s Radio Collective – June 15, 1977 –

Since we’re right in the middle of Pride Month and knee-deep in protests, marches, parades and homophobia along with that thing we used to call “consciousness raising”, it never hurts to look back, not only to see how far things have progressed, but how things have stayed the same and even in grave fear of slipping back.

June 15, 1977, forty-six years ago, there was a considerable amount of concern over a recently held off-year election in Dade County Florida in which a vehemently anti-gay crusader, former pop-singer and spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission, Anita Bryant succeeded in passing a piece of legislation that repealed a piece of legislation which would have made discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. The vote was 2-1 in favor of repeal and this triggered a storm of protest from the Gay and Lesbian community, who organized protests and boycotts.

It was Bryant and her coalition, Save Our Children which organized the campaign, based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the proposed threat of homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation.

Not only did this run the risk of turning back the clock, it was also spreading popularity among the conservative communities across the country, and prompted the introduction of California Proposition 6, informally known as the Briggs Initiative as a backlash to the Gay community. Prop 6 was a ballot initiative put to a referendum on the California state ballot in the November 7, 1978 election. It was sponsored by John Briggs, a conservative state legislator from Orange County. In a step beyond repeal of anti-discrimination measures, Oklahoma and Arkansas banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. The idea for the Briggs Initiative was formed during the success of the repeal of the Dade County anti-discrimination language.

The measure was the first attempt to restrict gay and lesbian rights through a statewide ballot.

This episode of the weekly radio program Fruit Punch, produced by the Gay Radio Collective of Northern California provided analysis of the Dade County measure as well as the need to defeat the Briggs Initiative (Prop. 6). It offers further evidence the 70s were a pivotal year for many movements taking shape in American society as well as societies the world over, but it also offers evidence that the insistence to deny rights to those human beings who didn’t fit a perfect perceived myth was just as strong.

And you would think that, almost fifty years to the day we would no longer be dealing with issues that denied human rights and stoked fears of violence and discrimination – that the desire to return to the 1950s is just as strong in 2023 as it was in 1977.

This is why knowing history is so necessary – in fact, its an imperative.

Have a listen and be informed. No matter who you are.

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