It’s Tom Petty’s Birthday

Winston + Tom Petty
I recall reading an item about Tom Petty back in the early eighties that has stuck with me all these years. He and his wife were at a Florida park to have a picnic. They saw a gay group in the park. The group was being harassed by anti-gay folks. Tom Petty and his wife joined the gay picnic to show their solidarity.

I’ve spent the last hour scouring the internet for the details of this story, but I’ve had no luck. I’m confident my memory is correct of this having happened.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie Pride. Based on true events, the movie tells the story of a small group of gay rights activists who in England in 1984 raised money to help striking working-class miners. For a while many of the miners didn’t want to take “gay” money, just as many gay people didn’t want to donate to the miners’ cause, feeling their charity money should go to gay causes such as fighting AIDS and discriminatory laws.

I’m not going to get preachy and explain the lessons to be learned from these stories. Go see Pride. It’s a very good movie. And listen to Tom Petty, who turns 64 today.

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