Fighting With Fruit: Anita Bryant’s Long-Lasting Legacy

A banana cream pie was a part of one of the most iconic moments in the gay liberation movement.

Anita Bryant, a chart-topping songstress who used her fame to fight “homosexual militants,” was speaking at a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa in 1977 when an activist, Tom Higgins, threw the pie in her face.

“Well, at least it’s a fruit pie,” she scoffed.

Her husband, Bob Green, then encouraged his wife to pray for Higgins. She prayed for him and his “deviant” lifestyle as she wiped away cream from her face, crying.

Lee Lawson, an Iowa native who was in Des Moines protesting Bryant’s visit that day, didn’t witness the incident in person, but word spread quickly.

“Some of us were excited and some of us were embarrassed,” he said of the bold move, one some felt was too bold. “One of the things you had to be aware of is there was a large anti-war movement and we were trying to keep ourselves separate from that. They were a lot bigger and a lot more active than we were. We were trying to do our own thing.”

No matter the reason, Bryant was a huge roadblock in the fight for LGBT rights.

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