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

Jason and I have a little French bulldog named Zola. She just had her 1st birthday. And, as should be expected, Jason and I are proud papas. She’s a lovable puppy full of playful energy. 

There’s “cis gender man” and the ever popular “cis gender woman,” not to be confused by “cis het.” There’s also “trans man” and “trans woman.”  Then there’s “fluid,” “gender queer,” “pan-sexual,” “non binary”… you get the idea. There are even more, but I literally can’t put them all here since it actually would go beyond my word count for this column space. 

Last week for World AIDS Day, Penn Medicine honored me with its Red Ribbon Pioneer Award. Truth is, it really hadn’t dawned on me, why me?  When notified about it a month prior and asked if I’d accept, it wasn’t an issue why. After all, it’s Penn Medicine Center for AIDS Research — one of the premier centers in the world for HIV/AIDS research.  So it wasn’t the institution, but rather if I was deserving of the recognition since most of my activity on the issue was in the past. Penn is in the current battle.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend — and if you’re like most Americans, two events take place during this holiday.

First, you most likely had a Thanksgiving dinner with family or with friends, and during that lovingly made dinner of turkey, ham or prime rib and side dishes of stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and corn, you said something like, “What do we all have thanks for this season?” Then the discussions begun, and it seems that getting into a debate at Thanksgiving has in itself almost become a cliché. So if you’re not with friends or family, you might just be luckier then you thought.

If you want to know what the far right that supports President Trump thinks of you, they want you dead. You think I’m kidding. Well, from those wonderful folks at Pink News comes a report on a new video game that does just that.

Last week, as I turned the pages of my local daily newspaper, the newspaper of record, I saw a few pages of ads from the city notifying the public of the coming elections, where the polling stations were and what was on the ballot. This is common practice from governments around the country. And in many of those municipalities, they also place those ads in community newspapers to ensure the participation of minority communities who have been left out of the process.

OK, I believe this column is preaching to the choir, but we are days away from an election — an election that will in one way or another change America and either put our community on the road to equality or continue to take our rights away.

So please, for your community and for yourselves, please vote.

There is one vote in particular that every LGBT person in this nation must make: You absolutely must vote for your Democratic congressional candidate. It is the most important vote you can ever make — one that will change our history. You have a chance to be a part of the most progress for our entire community.

There are people like Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard and Barbara Gittings that give meaning to our fight for equality. And there is no truer image of that struggle for equality than that of Stonewall, the bar in New York where, in June 1969, the community fought back when police raided it. One year after, to commemorate that night and the founding of a new community, Gay Pride was launched. The meaning of that and how we celebrate our community is in a state of rocky discussion; this on the heels of next June’s monumental anniversary, Stonewall 50.

Nikki Haley, one of the few sane people — and even fewer women — in top positions in the Trump administration and a former Republican South Carolina governor, resigned this week as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. You’re asking yourself, What has that to do with LGBT issues? One of her votes was blood- chilling.

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