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

Listen up, LGBT America.

The history of your struggle for LGBT equality is about to go mainstream. Just like the struggle of the black community, the Polish-American immigrant story or the Jewish heritage experience, we as a people have a story that also deserves to be told. For many years, society has tried to keep it hidden, and some in our very own community still wish many of us activists would simply just shut up.

Last week, my phone rang and the voice on the other end very apprehensively said their name and then, “I’m the one who has been in a ‘conversion-therapy’ camp.” Then, they began to cry. Here’s how this saga began:

The primary election is this coming Tuesday, and your vote is needed. This election is going to be close — we are looking at a two- or three- point race — which means that our community can play a major role in electing the next mayor. And our hope is that it will be Jim Kenney, a man who has stood side by side with us for almost a quarter of a century. But again, that only happens if you come out to vote. It will be that close. 

As publisher, let me state my obvious pride in the PGN staff, since they write for the most professionally produced newspaper for the LGBT community in the nation. How can I state that?
Simple: Our peers in journalism let us know it, and this year they’ve done so by giving us so many awards, we can’t even list or promote them all.
While we’re proud of the awards we get from LGBT organizations, we are most proud of those we get from non-LGBT journalism media or press associations because we’re up against every weekly, or in some cases every newspaper, in the nation. And in that field, we can easily say we are the most award-winning newspaper for the LGBT community in the nation, period.
    So why write this now?
    Because we just won 11 additional awards from the Local Media Association and five from the Society of Professional Journalists. Among them:
• Community Service Award, third place
• Best Special Section, second place:World AIDS Day Supplement
• Best Opinion Column, second place:
Mark My Words
• Best Breaking News Story, first place: “Pennsylvania Says ‘I Do’”
• Best Breaking News Story, honorable mention: “PA Treasurer Enters Marriage Fray”
• Best Local Election Coverage, second place: Philadelphia 2014 Primary Election
• Best Front Page, second place
• Best Non-Page One Layout, second place: Arts & Culture Feature Story
• Best Coverage Life Under 30, first place: LGBTQ Youth Supplement
• Best Arts & Entertainment Feature Writing, second place: “Meshell Ndegeocello’s New Album Burns Bright”
• Best Arts & Entertainment Writing, honorable mention: “Runaways Singer to Perform in Philly”
• Photo Story, first place: Philly Pride 2014 by Scott A. Drake
• Spot News Story, first place: “Pennsylvania Says ‘I Do’” by Jen Colletta, Angela Thomas, Scott A. Drake and Sean Dorn
• Editorial Writing, second place: Jen Colletta
• Spot News Story, second place: “City Mourns LGBT director Gloria Casarez” by Jen Colletta and Sarah Blazucki
• Commentary, third place: “Mark My Words” by Mark Segal
In addition to these 16 very-recent awards, I wan to recognize a prestigious honor one of our own also received last week: Scott A. Drake received the SPJ's 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Sports Photography — a first for any LGBT publication in this category. The Sigma Delta Chis Awards date back to 1932 and are among the premiere prizes given for professional journalism.
Please note that those awards represent almost all the departments here at PGN — and it’s why I am so proud of each and every one who works so hard each week to put out a product that not only we can take pride in, but is worthy of being published in the nation’s most LGBT-friendly city.
Congrats to my family at PGN.

There is a national spotlight on the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT demonstrations in front of Independence Hall that took place every July 4 from 1965-69. While it was a pivotal change in the struggle for equality, some are revising our history out of context by stating it is the 50th anniversary of the LGBT movement. That simply is not true.

Would you believe it’s been over a year now since the John C. Anderson LGBT-friendly senior apartments opened to much fanfare? Well, all of us involved in the process of developing the building have been so exhausted from the quick four-year building project that we didn’t plan a celebration.

This past week, many of us were amazed watching the tangled web of the anti-LGBT legislation that became law in Indiana, which has become a national poster child for LGBT discrimination. The outcry over Indiana’s law likely served as the impetus for the governor of Arkansas to reject similar legislation, although he callled for a clarification. While it looks (as I write this column on Wednesday) that there is some form of compromise or fix in the Indiana legislation in the offing, please note, as we did last week, that this is only one of 28 states with antigay legislation in the making.

From time to time I turn to my Facebook page ( to ask followers what subjects they’d like me to touch on in my weekly column. So here goes.

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