One Year: 1977

Season 1: Episode 1

Anita Bryant’s War on Gay Rights

The pop singer who launched an anti-gay movement, and the activists who fought back.


Episode Notes

A national battle over gay rights kicked off in Miami in 1977. It all started with Anita Bryant. The beauty queen and orange-juice spokeswoman was America’s leading anti-gay crusader. The fight against her would change America.

One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob.

Sources for This Episode


Bryant, Anita. The Anita Bryant Story: The Survival of Our Nation’s Families and the Threat of Militant Homosexuality, Spire Books, 1977.

Clendinen, Dudley and Adam Nagourney. Out For Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America, Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Faderman, Lillian. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Fejes, Fred. Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America’s Debate on Homosexuality, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Fetner, Tina. How the Religious Right Shaped Lesbian and Gay Activism, University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

McNaught, Brian. “Dear Anita,” On Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith, and Love, St. Martin’s Griffith, 1989.

Sears, James T. Rebels, Rubyfruit, and Rhinestones: Queering Space in the Stonewall South, Rutgers University Press, 2001.


Anderson, Bonnie and Karen Meyer. “Gay Activist: ‘Human Rights’ at Stake,” Florida Today, May 29, 1977.

Arnold, John. “Gay Rights Battle Lines Are Drawn,” Miami Herald, March 27, 1977.

Ayres Jr., B. Drummond. “Miami Debate Over Rights of Homosexuals Directs Wide Attention to a National Issue,” New York Times, May 10, 1977.

Baca, Mandy. “From Pride to The Palace: Miami’s LGBT Community Through the Years,” New Tropic, Aug. 6, 2015.

Baker, Joe. “Anita … With the Smiling Cheek,” the Advocate, April 20, 1977.

Brunk, Graham. “From the Jewel Box to the Copa—a Short History of Local Gay Bar Raids,” South Florida Gay News, Oct. 3, 2017.

Camp, Holly and Tony Fuller. “Battle Over Gay Rights: Anita Bryant vs. The Homosexuals,” Newsweek, June 6, 1977.

Clarke, Jay. “Gay Rights Dispute Stops Bryant’s Show,” Washington Post, Feb. 25, 1977.

Dorschner, John. “Mrs. Shack Goes to Town,” Tropic, Dec. 14, 1980.

Gailey, Phil. “Dade Approves Ordinance Banning Bias Against Gays,” Miami Herald, Jan. 19, 1977.

The Gaycott Turns Ugly,” Time, Nov. 21, 1977.

“The Gay Issue: Whose Rights Prevail? Each Side Claims ‘Nature’s Way,’ ” Miami Herald, April 4, 1977.

Goodstein, D.B. “Opening Space,” the Advocate, April 20, 1977.

Hiaasen, Carl. “Out of the Closet and Then Some,” Miami Herald, June 5, 1977.

Hutchinson, Bill and James R. Kukar. “Bryant/Kunst: Caught in the Middle,” Miami Magazine, May 1977.

Jahr, Cliff. “Anita Bryant’s Startling Reversal,” Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1980.

Kelley, Ken. “The Playboy Interview with Anita Bryant,” Playboy, May 1, 1978.

Lester, Will. “Bryant’s crusade two decades ago was watershed for gay rights,” Associated Press, Jan. 26, 1997.

McAleenan, John. “Rebel With (Another) New Cause,” Orlando Sentinel, Jan. 4, 1987.

“Miami Is Only One of Gays’ Battlefronts,” Miami Herald, April 11, 1977.

Monteagudo, Jesse. “Anita and I: An Activist’s Memoir,” Miami Weekly News, Oct. 29, 1997.

Navarro, Mireya. “2 Decades On, Miami Endorse Gay Rights,” New York Times, Dec. 2, 1998.

Nordheimer, Jon. “Miami Homosexuals See a Victory Despite Defeat of Antibias Law,” New York Times, Dec. 28, 1977.

Ortleb, Charles. “Ethan Geto,” Christopher Street, August 1977.

Save Our Children ad. Miami Herald, May 8, 1977.

Solomon, Lee H. “Lessons From Losing: Four Perspectives of Dade County,” the Advocate, Aug. 24, 1977.

Sosin, Kate. “Talking with the son of Bob Green and Anita Bryant,” Windy City Times, March 7, 2012.

Stanger, Theodore. “The Country Watches and Waits—All Over a County Ordinance,” Miami Herald, June 5, 1977.

Van Gelder, Lindsy. “Anita Bryant on the March: The Lessons of Dade County,” Ms., September 1977.

Vecsey, George. “Secular Bookings Off, Anita Bryant Sings at Revivals,” New York Times, Feb. 21, 1978.


The Day It Snowed in Miami, Miami Herald Media Company and WPBT-Channel 2, 2014.

Ruth Shack interview, the Outwords Archive, March 25, 2018.

Archival Material

Ruth and Richard Shack papers, ASM0227. University of Miami Special Collections, Miami, Florida.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

The Legacy of the Anita Bryant Protests

Why don’t we hear as much about this civil rights fight today as we do about Stonewall?


About the Show

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

The first season of One Year focuses on 1977, a year when gay rights hung in the balance, Roots dominated the airwaves, and Jesus appeared on a tortilla.

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