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.


When you used to say the word “Orlando,” it brought up the image of Harry Potter, Disney World castles and waterparks — but it now conjures a different image: that of mass murder at the Pulse nightclub. In time, that image will cease to exist for most of America; the city of Orlando will want that imagery to be lost, as will the many tourist attractions that call it home. Families will again visit in droves, and they should; it is not the fault of the city or its attractions, it’s the fault of one lone, possibly unstable, man. 

We in the LGBT community have been overwhelmed this week with not only dealing with our own emotions of what occurred in Orlando, but the outpouring of support from our friends and the amazing public expressions around the world. Like almost everyone, we have many questions, some of which may one day be answered. But if you’re like me, there’s one question that stands out and it’s one that we in the LGBT community will be discussing for some time.

The Philadelphia soda tax is a local story, but it’s also one that is playing out nationally. And, if you haven’t already begun to pay attention to it, you should.

When you’re in the media, you get invited to events where you see other media professionals with whom you work. So it was no surprise when I showed up at a press conference last month to preview the Fourth of July Wawa Welcome America celebration that I saw my friend David L. Cohen, who is Comcast’s senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer.

This last sleepy, dreary, overcast Saturday, you might have missed President Barack Obama as he gave what many might say in the future was one of his best speeches of his presidential years. It was a commencement address at Howard University, and it was a call for what he has consistently stood for: hope. It was also an urge to those in attendance to get involved, and not be afraid to engage with those who do not agree with us, for change only happens with communication.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Tuesday, Donald Trump asked why people didn’t look into the reports that Ted Cruz’s father was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald, seeming to suggest that Cruz’s father was a part of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This was based on a baseless story from a publication that must be high on Trump’s reading list: the National Enquirer. This is the way, and the day, that Trump essentially won the Republican nomination for president. Do you really think November’s general election is going to be any different?

Before I get to the meat of what this column is about, I’d like to offer an opportunity to anyone who’d like to go to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July. But it comes with strings, a lot of fun and a little work. Oh, and you have to change your name … and do it in the next 90 days.

Listen up, LGBT history fans.

When you think of LGBT history, you likely think of San Francisco or New York City, but the truth is, 40 years ago, Pennsylvania was at the vanguard of the American struggle for LGBT equality. You’re probably thinking I’m going to mention those pickets outside Independence Hall every July 4 from 1965-69, or the Dewey’s sit-in in 1965. None of the above. 

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