Here is a little piece of inside-Philly-gay-media baseball for you: Everytime Mark Segal speaks, thinking people, of every sexual preference, groan. And that’s a damn shame. Because even though Segal, the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, has done more for gay rights in his lifetime than you can shake a stick at, at this point, he’s a political bully, his publication is completely irrelevant, and every third time he opens his mouth, he embarrasses his cause. And yet, he continues to be thee mouthpiece for The Gays in Philly: Politicians trip over themselves to court him, and Lord knows he reciprocates. After a glorious youth spent bucking the system and people’s antiquated prejudices about homosexuals, he’s now firmly ensconced in the crusty Philadelphia political establishment he should have spent the second half of his life helping to level.
Instead, these days, he spends a lot of time doing things like this — leveling one of the most half-assed charges of homophobia we’ve ever seen. And sure, it’s PhillyMag, and yes, that piece was hella stupid, but homophobic? We strongly doubt it. Yesterday, Natalie Hope McDonald published a rebuttal that explains the reasons why far better than we could. In fact, it’s the most persuasive argument against Philly’s so-called “gay media elite” currently in positions of publishing power that we’ve seen. For as the piece and its comments point out: The guys (and of course it’s always guys) crying homophobia from a bully pulpit are often the same guys endorsing John Street for mayor (we know he threw the LGBT community some bones but COME ON) and programming, as McDonald says, “young gay men twirling on the catwalk in their skivvies at Voyeur Nightclub. So much for substance – or getting away from those pesky gay stereotypes about youth and gym bodies, huh?”
Lost in McDonald’s dance of full disclosure in the piece, though — she’s worked at PhillyMag for years, edited their gay mag, G Philly, and spends a little too much time for our taste pleading the case that “it’s baby steps like these in mainstream media that start to piece together real stories about the LGBT experience” — is an important point: Segal’s death grip on how the Philly LGBT community is represented to the Straight World can’t last forever. And she’s one of a few younger people in Philly that could possibly inherit the throne. McDonald didn’t mention that she’s the force behind The Philly Q, a fledgling site looking to do that Philly “gay media elite” one or two smarter. And surely, there is more where she came from. But our question is this: What is taking you people so long? The Segal guy is driving us crazy. And not in a good way.