Carl Abbott

Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning

Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 93 pages)


Anita Bryant -- Public opinion, Cosmopolitanism -- Political aspects, Homophobia -- Social aspects, Gay rights -- Oregon -- Eugene, Gay rights -- Florida -- Miami




Collective memories of gay rights in the late 1970s offer a conflicted portrait of Anita Bryant, an infamous anti-gay personality who inspired, organized, or funded four anti-gay referendums between 1976 and 1978. I employ J. Jack Halberstam's concept of "metronormativity" in an analysis of campaigns that failed to preserve local gay rights laws in Miami and Eugene, the first and last of Bryant's four "target cities." I use L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz as a metaphor to compare the beginning of Bryant's role as a leader in Miami to her subsequent role as a specter of national controversy in Eugene. Gay rights leaders in Miami failed in terms of what this paper identifies as "queer localization," the ability to localize their ideas, claims, and needs to the voting majority. This failure, I argue, led to an inversion of metronormativity in which the outcome of the Eugene referendum affected gay politics in the larger city of Portland. I conclude with a comparison of Anita Bryant and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk that suggests both figures created a metronormative myth that can be understood critically in terms of leaving the Yellow Brick Road.

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