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

It’s the last week of August — or what are known as the lazy, hazy last days of summer. Soon schools will open and, as many of us will recall, many teachers will ask their assembled students, “What did you do with your summer vacation?”

You might have noticed that this summer has been slightly different for me, but that comes after five years of constant motion. People keep saying they can’t keep up with me and asking when I’m going to slow down. Well, that question has been answered this summer.

To the entire LGBT community: Let’s begin as a community to state the truth without putting lipstick on a pig. Personally, it sickens me when I see someone from GLAAD or HRC on television calling conversion therapy “praying the gay away.” That is downright as truthful as a Donald Trump tweet, and might show how we attempt to soften our message for consumption by the mainstream. Or, it might hide something very sad: our own attempt to not accept what has been done to us as a collective community for years — and that, my friends, is torture.

There is a belief in the newspaper biz that summer is the time for columnists to step away from issues of the day and have a conversation with their readers. That conversation should take the form of letting your readers know more about you and engaging on why they like or dislike the work you put out each week. 

I’m writing this column on Jason’s and my third wedding anniversary. Since marriage is something new for our community, and us, I thought I’d share what has been a learning process.

There is no question that the rainbow flag has become the symbol of our community’s fight for equality. And that flag that the community embraces has gone through changes but never any that have been so publicized as the recent updates that were made to it in Philadelphia. That makes me want to ask, What’s all the fuss about? 

Pride is very special to me, since I helped in the first Gay Pride march in 1970. At that time it was not a “Gay Pride” march, but rather a march to show — using today’s terms — our resistance to society’s portrayal of us. It was also a celebration of what we created in the year since the Stonewall Riots. But mostly, it was a statement that we no longer would be in the closet. We were out loud and in your face!

Last Friday night, Jason and I were in the car going to do our weekly grocery shopping when I received the news. I looked at Jason and asked, “Is it me, or the hype around me?” He smiled and said, “A little of each” and asked me what I thought. My answer has never changed: I’ve always believed it’s passion and a good editor.

Heads up, LGBT America. Did you know that there is about to be a national Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, D.C., on June 11? Chances are you may not, since the people/group “organizing” it seem to have forgotten a simple rule when putting together a public demonstration: Invite the public and then communicate the facts so people will know the importance of the event, support its goals and know where, when and what to expect.

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