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

If you’ve been doing anything for a long period of time and people believe you to be somewhat knowledgeable on a particular issue, they ask all types of questions.

It’s a hot summer here on the East Coast, and usually a newspaper columnist expects that would be a period where people are tuning out the news cycle and thinking of vacation. But this summer is an election year so people are paying attention to the news, yet my friends in mainstream media seem to not understand the English language.

This year’s election for president will be the first in history where LGBT people and the American public will be voting on the issue of marriage equality, and you get to do that state by state.

Like many of you in the LGBT community, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from allies here and around the world after last month’s mass shooting in Orlando. But I also have many questions and am perplexed by what I’m seeing and hearing as some people attempt to explain or use this incident for their own purposes — or even to bash other communities in our name. Those mixed feeling are slowly building up to anger.

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.

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