First and foremost, please do not blame those listed in the Philadelphia Magazine article — the some 28 “A-listers” are not guilty of anything; they are not our enemy. They did not put the “list” together that excluded women and almost every other ethnic group, and they did not write it. They might very well be victims. So please do not blame them; they did nothing wrong. Which part of their interviews were actually published? The guilty, in my opinion, is Philadelphia Magazine itself, and it has been a continuous pattern.
Then there was a Twitter conversation I had where I was reminded that they’re not as bad as Westboro Baptist Church. And that is true.
I’ve been asked what we should do. The question is what should they do. An apology to the community? An apology to women, to minorities? Which communities? How many?
While you told me about your anger at Philly Mag, let me tell you what led me to write that column. I received an email from Philly Mag Dec. 3, requesting an interview. The writer is someone I like; in his spare time, he’s in the back-up band for Martha Graham Cracker. How can you not like a writer backing up a drag queen?
So I agreed. Did the interview, sat through a photo shoot, liked the photographer and his work as well. Then someone showed me the January issue. And I got angry! I felt used. My column came from that anger. Earlier in this column, I mentioned that those people in the January issue may very well be victims. I just might be a victim in the February issue, but hopefully they pulled the piece after last week’s column. Like you, I’ll have nothing to do with that publication again until they respect this community. Oh, and learn that this is not the gay community, but the LGBT community.
Then, to add insult to injury, last week in a separate incident, the Philly Mag blog ran a story on a new Philadelphia sports figure, who it suggested might be gay via a web search the writer did. Likely from the blog post, readers continued that search during the day and that search then became more prominent — that’s like manufacturing a story. If you keep checking a search term, of course it will raise in priority on the search engine. This might not be homophobia, but it is sensationalism.
But there’s a great silver lining. We must thank Philly sports fans who were not fooled by Philly Mag. Many commented, “Who cares as long as he does his job well?”
Maybe Philly Mag should learn that.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.