"All at once, her eyes widened, her smile opened, and out came the oddest sound: 'Oh,'" Bryant's son said of the 81-year-old's reaction to her granddaughter's engagement.
Evangelical pop star and infamous homophobe, Anita Bryant, is reportedly living what might be her worst nightmare: her grandaughter is gay and engaged to a woman. The 81-year-old's granddaughter, Sarah Green, recently opened up about coming out to her homophobic grandmother at the age of 21 and revealed that she hasn't yet decided whether Bryant should be invited to her upcoming wedding. Green spoke about her relationship with the Christian conservative activist during her appearance on Slate's podcast One Year—hosted by Josh Levin—which focuses on 1977, the year Bryant became a vocal anti-gay speaker in Miami.
I will be laughing about this for ~eternity https://t.co/igNIUX51RA— Hugh Ryan (@Hugh_Ryan) July 27, 2021
According to Advocate, Bryant became an icon in conservative circles after mounting the infamous "Save Our Children" campaign in the 1970s to repeal a local anti-discriminatory ordinance in Dade County, Florida. She testified against the ordinance, which banned employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and persuaded voters to repeal it. Ultimately, over 70 percent of Miami-Dade citizens voted to repeal the ordinance (Miami-Dade County's government restored the ordinance in 1998 and added gender identity to it in 2014). The former Miss Oklahoma targeted gay teachers, accusing them of being child molesters who go into teaching to hurt kids, reports LGBTQ Nation.
Every time I see a satisfying story like this one I think, with wry glee, “Anita Bryant must be spinning in her grave,” and then I remember she’s still alive. But she’ll die mad. (via @cmcasarez) https://t.co/eAF78t4VJV— Stacey Burns (@WentRogue) July 28, 2021
"Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit," she reportedly said, also calling gay people "human garbage." However, Bryant is best remembered for getting a pie smashed in her face by an LGBTQ-rights activist during a 1977 press conference. "What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable alternate way of life," she said at the time. "I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before." Mid-conference, gay-rights activist Tom Higgins threw a pie in Bryant's face on national television.
During her appearance on One Year, Green explained that although she initially didn't think Bryant was really anti-LGBTQ, she started looking at her grandmother differently once she realized as a teen that she herself was gay. She added that she had no intention of coming out to her grandmother, but was spurred to do so on her 21st birthday when Bryant told her that if she had faith, the right man would come along. "And I just snapped and was like, 'I hope that he doesn't come along, because I'm gay, and I don't want a man to come along,'" Green recalled.
Anti-gay loon Anita Bryant, the Mike Pence of her day, is, oddly, still alive. And her LGBTQ grandaughter, Sarah Green, is about to marry a woman. Anita called gay people "human garbage" and still says that homosexuality "doesn't exist." Best wishes to Sarah and her wife-to-be! pic.twitter.com/WuYxvTliJ0— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) July 27, 2021
Bryant reportedly responded to Green's revelation by telling her that homosexuality is a delusion invented by the devil and that she should focus on loving God because that would make her realize she's straight. "It's very hard to argue with someone who thinks that an integral part of your identity is just an evil delusion," said Green. Now, as she plans her wedding, Green admitted that even after extensive discussions with her fiancée, she is unsure about inviting Bryant. "I think I probably will eventually just call her and ask if she even wants an invitation because I genuinely do not know how she would respond," she said. "I don't know if she would be offended if I didn't invite her."
Listening to my parents argue I went from feeling like "us" meant "me and mom and dad and my siblings" to feeling utterly alone. My parents and siblings became "them." I had to hide from them and lie to them and beware of them.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) July 27, 2021
But Anita Bryant's anti-gay activism—which was successful in Florida—would ultimately backfire. Gay people organized and began to fight back. Harvey Milk fought back. There's an airport named after him. There won't be truck stop named after Bryant.https://t.co/zRjxmuSQpc pic.twitter.com/89bz8wrbAu— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) July 27, 2021
A gay family and maybe my family too. Because I was seeing moms and dads who knew their kids were gay fighting for their kids, marching, talking to reporters. Seeing that convinced me that one day I would be able to tell them—mom and dad and my siblings—and we'd be "us" again.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) July 27, 2021
Robert Green Jr., Sarah Green's father and Bryant's son, also made an appearance on the podcast and revealed that his mother is aware of Green's impending nuptials. He said that when he told his mother about his daughter's engagement, "All at once, her eyes widened, her smile opened, and out came the oddest sound: 'Oh.' Instead of taking Sarah as she is, my mom has chosen to pray that Sarah will eventually conform to my mom's idea of what God wants Sarah to be." Despite her grandmother's homophobia, Green says she doesn't hate Bryant. "I just kind of feel bad for her," she said. "And I think as much as she hopes that I will figure things out and come back to God, I kind of hope that she'll figure things out."
Anita Bryant’s gay granddaughter be like: pic.twitter.com/bwhlIebLGw— Love, Brandon B. 🏳️🌈 (@excuseyou77) July 28, 2021
Schadenfreude Pie, to be exact, with an extra sour cherry on top.— Kate Davison (@katemdavo) July 28, 2021
Always happy to see Anita Bryant trending because it gives me an opportunity to trot out this old National Lampoon classic. pic.twitter.com/0yf7V4VtHt— David Neiwert (@DavidNeiwert) July 27, 2021