I wanted to know what was on your mind, so I posted a request for column ideas on Facebook. What follows is a sampling of the ample feedback I received, and my responses.
Natalie Hope McDonald:How could gay marriage impact the economy? MS: Just think of all those caterers, dress and tux rentals, honeymoons, new apartment and home decorating and the ever-popular bachelor or bachelorette parties. It would move mucho money around a starved economy.
Robert Casey: How about an impassioned appeal to all gay people to become more politically active and run for office, so that we don’t need to pander to straight politicians to promote our agenda and achieve full human rights? MS: One of my favorite subjects. Running for office accomplishes so much. First, it puts a face on our community and shows the non-gay world who we are and that we share the same dreams and aspirations. Then, if victorious, we get to show that we work well with others. Is anybody in our community not proud of Judges Dan Anders and Ann Butchart?
Duwayne V. Terry: Homophobia in the black community. MS: A tough issue, but one we addressed after the vote on gay marriage in California. Maybe our community didn’t do its homework to this point. We can correct this, but we must work with the LGBT black community to achieve this.
Victor Havens: I am sure Iowa is going to be a part of it. MS: A funny story I haven’t told before: When there was no gay-rights organization in Iowa — I’m not going to tell you what year — I was asked to speak at the University of Iowa. I inspired a guy so much that he moved to San Francisco and was one of the founders of a group called “The Sisters of the Perpetual xxxxx.”
Tommy Atz: With pride session quickly upon us, I’d love to hear from your perspective about what Philly was like for the LGBT community years ago, when you first got involved as an activist. MS: It was a lonely place that only came to life on weekends, and mostly in bars and clubs. Then, in the early ’70s, a true community to raise. Organizations, community centers, true gay coffee houses, even an activist bar called Rosco’s, which was run by Bill Wood. The change is absolutely 360 and a joy to behold.
Ray Murphy: Liberty City’s endorsement meeting is Thursday — always a fun way to kick off pride season and get politically active. MS: Couldn’t agree more … We love Liberty City!
Steve McCann: A peanut is neither a pea nor a nut. Discuss! MS: I’ve never discussed nuts in my column before.
Larry Felzer: The future of print media, specifically gay newspapers, in light of so many general-circulation newspapers folding, downsizing, filing for bankruptcy, etc.? MS: A great question. Like all newspapers, the LGBT media has been hit by the recession and new media. One particular group, Window Media, which publishes the Blade newspapers and is somehow intertwined with HX, is in serious trouble. But their problems were caused before either of the current situations occurred.
Most LGBT publications will come through this even stronger. We’ve been through three recessions in the past and, for niche publications, that’s an opportunity. We can afford to give advertisers a more affluent audience at a better rate than larger papers when they need to save funds. We also deliver information and news that no other media has, on or off the Web, that’s created by a seasoned, professional staff.
By the way, PGN is the only publication in Philadelphia that has not laid off any personnel. That’s a tribute to our staff and the advertisers that support us and thereby the community.
Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].