The Hell We’ve Been Through
"I could have been killed."
Anita Bryant, an orange juice brand ambassador and Evangelical singer, appeared at the Bloomsburg Fair on September 25, 1978. The Pennsylvania Gay Support Network and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Human Rights, among others, staged a protest against Bryant’s anti-gay views on September 24 and 25. Mary Nancarrow, a demonstrator, recalled, “we went with a banner for lesbian/gay rights … We had the Pennsylvania State Police at the beginning, but as we walked [they disappeared] … we were surrounded by … 10,000 very hostile people… I have never felt so frightened in my life.”
Dan Maneval also attended the Bloomsburg demonstration. He spoke in opposition to Bryant’s anti-gay crusade in front of a crowd of protestors and newscasters. He appeared on the local TV news and would soon find out that LGBTQ+ people were unwelcomed in his neighborhood. A group of teens in the neighborhood, Maneval said, “started attacks on my house… they threw things … tomatoes became stones, the stones even at one point became bricks, and eventually they had knocked out almost every window. And occasionally I was not even home at the time of the attacks…thank god. The one night I was, I could have been killed…It was that bad. And I was forced to move.”