The battle for legitimacy

The battle for legitimacy

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We’re in a time of change, and most of that is frustrating, but at times you see the glimmer of success from what this community has had to endure and build upon, especially when you see it through someone else’s eyes.

Last Sunday, I had the honor to speak at the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional conference in Philadelphia. What a great time to be gathering with fellow journalists. Like me, many at that conference believe we’re in a golden age of journalism, especially with the #MeToo movement, the lack of corporate-bias training and, of course, the train wreck that is the Trump administration.  

On a side note, here’s an eye-opener on that subject: YouTube the statement that Stormy Daniels gave outside the Manhattan federal court last week. After watching it, I never thought I’d utter such a phrase: The porn star is more respectable than the president of the United States.  

Back to SPJ: The organization has a special place in my heart, since it was among the first mainstream journalism organizations to appreciate the work of LGBT media. My talk was entitled “Covering LGBT Issues: From Stonewall to Trump.” I enjoyed the questions from the participants, but what was a joy was when members of SPJ’s leadership began to talk about the first few times that PGN won awards from them.

SPJ leaders described how some of their members were shocked to see an award going to an LGBT newspaper, or just in shock to hear the word “gay.” It was so heartfelt for me to witness the pride they felt for just accepting us as fellow professional journalists, the same as them. It was a long way from the days we had to fight simply to join such organizations. And if you believe it was just us in LGBT media, no, it was out LGBT doctors, lawyers, those in elected or appointed positions and corporate leaders. Yes, my young readers, there was a time when the majority of our community had to fight to simply be out. So many of us take a moment of joy when we see our battle is winning out. On Sunday, I got to meet student journalists, who can be out and accepted in their profession. With all the frustration around us, that’s a success.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

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