One of the most popular and most publicized entries in the 1977 Gay Parade in San Francisco was a series of 5 large posters with pictures of some of the most hateful figures in recent history. In the center, flanked by Josef Stalin, Adolph Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan, and Idi Amin was Anita Bryant, whose campaign "SAVE OUR CHILDREN" (from homosexuals) had succeeded in Dade County, Florida a few weeks earlier. Bryant quickly became a symbol of oppression and hatred throughout the gay community.

Larry Agriesti was the creator of this display. Below the picture, he tells how this all came to be. Thank you, Larry, for sharing this piece of our history.

Thanks for asking about the background for the "Bigots in History" entry for the 1977 Gay Freedom Day Parade.

What happened was this: Shortly after the news broke about Anita's victory in Florida I was sitting in the SF Opera House unable to focus on the performance; all I could picture was what had happened to gays when Hitler was in power and I thought if there was anyway to make a statement about Anita it was in the context of Hitler, the KKK, and so on. Just the pictures with her smack in the middle.

So, a couple of friends of mine (Steve Weber and Bill Smith) had some photos blown up to poster size, pasted them on boards and sticks, got some more friends to help carry them, and off we went.

The response from the crowds and the media was overwhelming; something I hadn't expected or I would have shaved and worn better clothes!

We were acknowledged by a 'Cable Car' award for the parade entry which they entitled "Bigots on Parade".

-Larry Agriesti

Larry now lives in Australia. When he recently returned to the City for a visit, I had the pleasure of meeting him in person. We spent a couple of hours sitting and chatting at a Noe Valley sidewalk cafe. Larry told me that his award-winning last minute entry into the 1977 gay parade brought him status among his friends as a parade celebrity. As the 1978 parade approached, they expected him to create another brilliant parade entry. He expressed doubts that he could produce anything that would be as well received as his previous idea, but, encouraged by his friends, he decided on large posters of Jesus on the cross, each one representing a city which had recently repealed gay rights laws or defeated gay rights legislation. His 1978 production, shown here, although timely and well received, did not generate nearly the response of the year before. However, Larry's contribution to those two parades is typical of the commitment and spontaneous outpouring of energy by the gay community during that period.


This page created January 25, 1999
modified November 23, 1999
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