It is 9:27 p.m. on a rainy, dreary and humid June evening, and I’m in a Hampton Inn, on the interstate outside of Harrisburg, in preparation for a 9 a.m. meeting at the Pennsylvania News Media Association, whose board of directors I now serve on.
Next Friday, we go to Washington, D.C., to accept a national award for investigative journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists at the National Press Club. PGN is the only weekly of any kind serving any community in the nation to receive that award this year.
So I’m sitting in the room, thinking about what the last few years have been like, and there is no way that the chills of joy do not rill down my back.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is no more. Philadelphia has the strongest LGBT-rights laws in the nation and we are the only city that offers tax credits to corporations that provide transgender-inclusive benefits. Forty-four percent of Americans live in marriage-equality states, including in our own Pennsylvania. (And here’s my reminder that you marry for love, not because it’s the “in” thing to do. Marriage is a serious issue.)
For those of my generation who never thought we’d see this day, there are other questions. And a fun note from the past.
In 1969, we could not truly foresee the day that any of this that we were fighting for would actually become a reality; we thought we were just setting the stage. In fact, some in our community thought it was a bonus not to go into the military or marry. Some thought of same-sex marriage as LGBT people assimilating or copying heterosexuals, and preferred that we instead created our own traditions as we created LGBT communities.
My favorite issue to come to terms with are gay men calling their spouse husband, and lesbians referring to their spouse as their wife. These are great problems.
As this column promised, this would be a good year, highlighted this week by President Obama’s pledged executive order on federal contractors not being allowed to discriminate. Anyone who doesn’t realize the speed of our push for equality is just not tuned in. n
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at [email protected].