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 or Twitter at

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.

Mr. President:

I write to you today regarding your lifting of the federal guidance on transgender rights in schools. While I am not privy to discussions within your White House, this is viewed by many of us as a victorious win for the bigotry of the Steve Bannon and Vice President Pence parts of your administration — the so-called alt-right constituents. You might regret that advice given to you by this segment of your administration. Here’s why.

Any day now, President Donald Trump is expected to announce — with great fanfare, I’m sure, including a drum roll — his pronouncement on the ban of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. This alone should appall any American, or anyone who has decent human empathy, especially when you understand what many of these people are escaping. And we in the LGBT community should understand it a lot more.

The last couple weeks have saddened those of us who love the freedoms this country offers and who have tried over the last few decades to make those freedoms inclusive — but there is a silver lining. Masses of people are taking up this cause of resistance and are willing to go out and show their support to stop any incursions to democracy.

And they almost have it right. 

Any presidency is ranked by the prosperity it brings to the country, which allows the living standard of its citizens to improve. That is the promise that Donald Trump and almost all politicians run on: improving life for the American middle class.

When corporations discriminate or hold positions that will hurt employees or the environment, at times a boycott is called for. Well, it seems that Trump’s Muslim travel ban has in itself handed us the way to force his hand. 

While recent demonstrations have given us hope, we must now use future demonstrations to bring change. Simply put, they must be targeted. Targeted nonviolent protests sometimes cause inconvenience, but that inconvenience is what causes the change. Luckily those who demonstrated last week got it right: airports. 

Airports have become a major economic hub of this nation. Here’s what the federal government, through the Federal Aviation Administration, states on the subject:

“Aviation-related manufacturing output for the entire United States increased 15.5 percent in real terms between 2009 and 2012, from $217.2 billion to $250.9 billion.”

That was in 2012, and just domestic. Bring it up to date and add in the international economic impact and the numbers are staggering. This from the JFK Airport’s own report:

“Employment and economic impact: About 37,000 people are employed at JFK. The airport contributes about $37.3 billion in economic activity to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region, generating about 256,000 total jobs and $13.4 billion in annual wages and salaries.”

This is only a possible suggestion from an old activist …

Mark Segal is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, “And Then I Danced,” is available on, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller.

Last night I watched the HBO documentary on the relationship between Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” saga. The film, “Bright Lights,” is a wonderful trip through Hollywood and sort of a “Grey Gardens Goes Hollywood.” The living conditions, like in “Grey Gardens,” are unique but it’s the conditions of both the main characters and those they touch that brings you to the point where you’re asking yourself, "What world are these delightful people living in?" 

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