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Anita Bryant Wants 'A Gay Best Friend' Says Screenwriter Chad Hodge

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ANITA BRYANT GAY BEST FRIEND
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Here's something you don't hear everyday (or even every century): Anita Bryant wants a gay best friend.

E!'s Marc Malkin reports Bryant recently met with openly gay screenwriter Chad Hodge, who is penning the script for an upcoming HBO biopic about the singer turned anti-gay activist.

"I went to Oklahoma and spent three days with her and Charlie [Dry, Bryant's husband]," Hodge told Malkin at GLSEN's Respect Awards. "I was the first gay man -- gay person! -- she agreed to talk to in 33 years."

Bryant, 71, burst onto the scene as a singer in the 1950s but made national headlines -- and a country full of LGBT enemies -- in 1977 when she successfully led a crusade to overturn an anti-gay discrimination ordinance in Dade County, Florida. From there she continued to rally in hopes of seeing similar pro-gay legislation repealed across the United States.

In what could be considered a precursor to today's now ubiquitous glitterbombings, a gay activist planted a pie on Bryant's face at a press conference in Iowa in 1977. Bryant responded, "At least it was a fruit pie" before praying for the "deviant" protestor's soul.

Malkin notes that Bryant now runs a ministry from an office she shares with her husband in Oklahoma City.

Remarking on his encounter Hodge says, "We talked about everything... Religion, homosexuality, her life and every detail of her life. I mean, everything! She really opened up to me. It started very standoffish... but then it slowly took a turn and she opened up and cried to me... Turns out she wants a gay best friend just like everyone else."

Correction: An earlier version of this story used language that may have implied Bryant herself said she wanted a "gay best friend." The theory was posited by Hodge based on his interactions with Bryant.

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