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

We’re heading into September and, while most of you are out enjoying your last taste of summer, others are beginning to look at what will happen in the presidential sweepstakes after Labor Day — when the full presidential campaign take shape and all eyes focus on those three debates.

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. 

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