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

I’m going to take a liberty and break one of my major rules about LGBT publishing that dictates that all coverage must be about or for the LGBT community.

I’ve been traveling out of the country for the last couple of weeks, and with what seems to be so much disagreement in our community on a range of issues, and the ongoing doubts about where our struggle is leading, I thought I’d share with you a few snapshots from my trip — which should give you a different view of our community and our accomplishments.

Donald Trump and his fake excuse and misdirected attack on the NFL players who are kneeling for social justice have some people saying it’s a sign of a leader cracking down on the First Amendment, which leads to an authoritarian state. Think that’s an overreach? Take a look at a similar issue in another country with an already-authoritarian state. 


LGBT history can be found in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes it just comes as a surprise to learn that something, or someone, you’ve known about was gay. Given the title of this column, you may think this is going to be about the lyricist of “Gypsy” — my favorite Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, who’s gay — it isn’t. And if you think it’s about another member of the production company of that original Broadway bombastic hit — so many of them were gay — again, it isn’t.

When you set out to change the world, you never expect to actually see the results of those years of struggle, or to win praise. And if you are lucky enough to, it comes as an overwhelmingly emotional surprise that takes days to come to terms with ... and fully accept or appreciate.

I saw a picture today of a young gay couple standing next to an older heterosexual couple. Then, I noticed that the two men were holding up their hands to show their wedding rings and the older couple must be one of their parents. It brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t even know these guys. What went through my mind was, isn’t it wonderful that we live in a time when not only can two people in love marry, but a majority of the country supports our rights?

This weekend, NLGJA: The Association of LGBT Journalists has its annual convention, held this year in Philadelphia. The organization and its membership may not be what you expect. For the most part, the focus is not on LGBT media, but rather the organization serves as a place for LGBT journalists who mostly work in mainstream media, in places like CNN, MSNBC and news divisions of the three major networks — NBC, ABC and CBS — as well as print media like New York Times, Washington Post and, of course, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is the world’s largest broadcaster. It began in 1922 and has a stellar record for its journalism, both news and its fascinating documentaries, which at times seem to be pigeonholed to the most under-looked parts of humanity. 

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.

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