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.


With the North Korea situation being in front of the news, the answer to that question is simple: No. But it gives us an opportunity as a community to look at how the U.S. and our community are dealing with other nations and their LGBT policies.

With the North Korea situation being in front of the news, the answer to that question is simple: No. But it gives us an opportunity as a community to look at how the U.S. and our community are dealing with other nations and their LGBT policies.

Well, it’s been a year so guess I can tell this strange story. I’ll leave some names out for obvious reasons.


During the presidential election, every newspaper worth its weight in newsprint attempts to get interviews with the principals in the race. PGN received unprecedented access on the Democratic side. We interviewed almost every principal from campaign manager Robby Mook to vice presidential candidate Tim Kane. We even had interviews with the leaders of Congress and the Senate: Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. No one else in LGBT media has ever been granted this much access in one election cycle before, unless you count the coverage we did from Denver eight years earlier. You’d think we’d be very pleased and rest on our laurels. You know us better.


There was still the presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. And yes, we requested an interview. To be fair and balanced as all newspapers should be, we alerted Donald Trump’s campaign that we expected to speak with Secretary Clinton and we made the same offer to Trump. We explained that they would both be given the same questions and their answers would be printed in full with no editing of their answers. And they would appear side by side.


We were told our request on the Republican side went all the way up the chain at Trump headquarters and it looked good.
As it got later in the campaign, we realized that if it was going to happen on either side, we needed to put a deadline on it for both.
We heard from the Democrats first, who told us that there just wasn’t time, but Clinton was happy to write an original op-ed piece for PGN and allow us to share it with LGBT media.


We accepted, but explained that we still had our offer of an interview with Trump open and if he accepted, we were going to honor that offer.
Well, that op-ed by Hillary is part of history now, but I’ve never written about what happened on the Trump side. During the process, we discussed the possibility of high-level members of the campaign or Trump’s family providing his positions on the issues, and the possibility was always there that Trump himself might do it. I even gave them scenarios that fit their strategy. We publishers will go the limit (within ethical bounds) to get an important interview.


But after we told them that Hillary decided to write an op-ed rather than provide an interview, and after we offered them the same, again without word limits or editing, they came back to us to offer an interview with the openly gay Milo Yiannopoulos, who was editor for a blog that most people hadn’t heard of at that point. We had, and didn’t want to give it any more publicity or credibility than it deserved. It’s name: Breitbart. And his boss: a guy named Steve Bannon, who approved our interview.


If you think Bannon is evil, then you’d think Yiannopoulos was the devil incarnate. Months later, he was accused of supporting child sexual abuse. He denies this, but it came from a tape where he suggests that relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can be … you get the idea. When that became public, it was even too much for Breitbart and the organization fired him.


How low do you have to go to be fired by Breitbart?


In hindsight, we made a good call.

OK, someone has to say it. We’ve survived the first year of this administration, but it has done damage to both the country’s reputation and our community.  And if you feel that way, 2018 is your year to correct that path.

When I was young, about 11, Jewish kids didn’t acknowledge Christmas as anything other than just another day, but we appreciated that it meant something important to our Christian neighbors. The reality was, since our neighbors were Christian, it was a boring day for us kids as our friends were with their families enjoying a day that in American culture is one for family, and we felt excluded.

I asked my Facebook friends to suggest topics for this week’s column. They came up with subjects such as bullying, LGBT history, the White House holiday press party and the latter’s snubbing of LGBT and black journalists.

 

I am an openly gay man, so you might say you hate the sinner part of me but love me as a person. You also might tell me my civil rights are special rights that infringe on your beliefs. But most importantly, you’d say the LGBT community is immoral.

Ah, Thanksgiving — the start of what we call the holiday season, but if you’ve seen any TV, looked at a newspaper or been on a website recently, you’ve likely noticed that the season seems to have already started. Many people call this the “joyous season.” But for many LGBT people, this is not a joyous season, especially the most disenfranchised in our community — youth who were forced out of their homes or, worse, forced into “conversation-therapy” camps; trans people who were disowned by family and friends; and seniors, most of whom came out in a time when there were no rights and little tolerance, especially from family.

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