Mark My Words

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.


 

As I was standing in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, looking at the giant silhouette of Che Guevara, I smiled, recalling the Che Guevara Café I once visited in Beirut where I watched a male belly dancer as I was reporting on Lebanon’s first LGBT organization. It occurred to me that the relationship between the United States and the Middle East is easy to explain compared to the relationship our country has with Cuba, as well as Cuba’s position on LGBT issues.

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When you read this column, I should be in Havana, Cuba, writing about the changes in how Cuba deals with its LGBT community. I do so based on a similar report I did for LGBT media exactly 20 years ago, in 1997. And maybe the way I’m getting to Cuba this week may be a harbinger of what to expect. 

As we go to press on Wednesday evening, Human Rights Campaign is sending out alerts asking for money to help them fight the so-called “License to Discriminate” religious-freedom executive order that President Pence — excuse me, President Trump — is supposed to issue this week. This answers several questions that many have been asking about this White House. 

A couple of years ago, the author and director of the Academy Award-nominated “How To Survive a Plague,” David France, contacted me for his next project. We chatted a few times and then he arrived at my door with a complete film crew and research staff. He was going to spend the day filming me talking about my sister from Gay Liberation Front in New York, Marsha P. Johnson. Last week, France was kind enough to ask me to the Tribeca Film Festival for a showing of that film, now titled “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”

This week, I’m writing about an issue that sheds new light on a subject we all think we know: Stonewall. Earlier this week, my husband Jason, who teaches creative writing at Boston University, handed me an anthology of the best science-fiction stories of 2016. The book, edited by John Joseph Adams, has a story by Sam J. Miller titled “The Heat of Us: Notes Towards an Oral History.” It’s literally a science-fiction account of Stonewall.

Some headlines in Europe have yelled “Concentration camps for LGBT people,” or “100 gays rounded up, beaten and imprisoned” or “Kidnappings of LGBT people off the streets.”

Sometimes there seems to be a language problem in understanding, to quote a current president, “what the hell is really happening here.” Here’s an example.

Every so often I ask my Facebook and Twitter friends (about 30,000) to suggest subjects for me to address in this column. Here are some recent suggestions:

Over the last few weeks I’ve been interviewed, filmed, taped and recorded numerous times. I’ve also been going through files — or, more like, boxes of papers and objects that haven’t seen the light of day or artificial light literally for decades — for a project I’m involved with.

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