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

A very well deserved congratulations to the William Way LGBT Community Center for securing a $1 million grant from the state of Pennsylvania that will allow for an upgrade to the building that has been patched up since the community first purchased it way back in 1997.  It’s a new phase and a new start for the center.

You know of this man: He’s the founder and owner of Amazon.

And you probably know of “Creep of the Week,” the syndicated column in PGN and other LGBTQ newspapers around the nation.

Two years ago I wrote this op-ed for The Advocate. I think these words are as true today as they were then.

In my almost 50 years of LGBT activism, there has never been a time that worried me more about our struggle for equality than the current state of our movement. It shocks me to have to say that, since I was a member of New York’s Gay Liberation Front, the organization born from the ashes of Stonewall. We were the most dysfunctional organization to ever exist in the LGBT community. We fought among ourselves at every turn, and while we disagreed on almost everything, we managed to create a community that didn’t exist before. We nurtured it and celebrated it; we didn’t tear it apart.

Each year Jason and I do a road trip. The rules are very simple: We try to go to places we haven’t been, the place must have something we’ve heard about that is slightly odd, and the place must take us out of our comfort zone so we can see what it’s like living out of our East Coast liberal bubble.

“Why weren’t the events of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary covered by the Inquirer?”

That’s the question I’ve been asked after a whirlwind month that had me traveling around the country to talk about the Stonewall Riots and their aftermath in the year that followed. Even staffers in the Inquirer’s newsroom begged the question during a recent farewell party I attended at the Philly publication’s Center City headquarters.

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots have passed, and as an integral part of the anniversary and the 50 years leading up to it, I have an inside track and knowledge as to who the players are and how they did their jobs for our community. Two organizations failed our community this year. 

It was one of the most magical weeks that I’ll ever have. When I headed to New York by train, it was already announced that I’d be one of the grand marshals of the Stonewall 50 World Pride parade, and that meant marching with my Gay Liberation Front sisters and brothers. 

I am amazed at what I’ve learned over the past few weeks about an event in which I took part — the Stonewall riots — and I’m having fun galloping around the country for interviews, photo shoots and speaking gigs. 

Last week’s tour took me to Pilgrim House during Provincetown’s second annual Gay Pride for a speaking engagement. The organizers wanted a Stonewall participant to help separate the myths from the facts.

I’ve already started what I’m calling my “Stonewall 50 Tour,” which includes more than 20 speaking gigs, interviews, exhibit openings, parades and conferences. It culminates on June 30, when I share the honor of being Grand Marshal of New York’s World Pride/Stonewall 50 parade with my fellow sisters and brothers of Gay Liberation Front New York 1969-71. I want to share this journey with you; so, here are a few of the things that have happened thus far.

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