When political connections allow discrimination, we fight back

Mark Segal   May 3, 2018 - Philadelphia Gay News

For our family at PGN, this has been what you might call a mixed couple of weeks. It started with the death of one of our extended family members, Mike Petty, the husband of Don Pignolet, who has been with this paper since its beginning. Naturally our hearts and first concerns were with Don. 

It also gave us each a time to reflect. As we saw the love they shared, we were able to look into our own relationships and see joy. Don, the trooper he has always been, has kept up his PGN schedule. It has been heartwarming to watch his fellow staffers comfort him on those occasions when he gets a little emotional. It makes us proud to be his family.

As this was playing out, the Inquirer took a pot shot at minority and LGBT media. In part, the article might have been about the Inquirer's exploiting a discriminatory state law along with the PA Newspaper Publisher's Association when they lobbied the state legislature in 1976 and again in 1986 to give themselves a monopoly on government advertising. The question is, did they use their political influence then?

In the story the Inquirer ran this week, that question was never brought up. Did they not ask the needed question? Did they include quotations out of context? Did they not reveal their own connections with the same people they connected to the minority press?

It had two good outcomes: The minority media of the city, along with LGBT media and community newspaper publishers, had their first city-wide meeting. We were all united in calling out the Inquirer for its bias, its ethics regarding this article and its manner in handling our response. The Inquirer has agreed to meet with us to discuss these grievances. Whether they know it from their privileged and politically connected perch or not, they should know that their reputation is on the line.

What was even more heartwarming was the reaction from you, our community. On both these issues, our community called and emailed offering Don kind words and letting us know, as something our LGBT Chamber of Commerce might say, that in all business, the fairness to get in the game is what real equality is all about. PGN has always fought the good fight, and we appreciate your support. That may be the most heartfelt feeling of the week. n

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media.

Connect with us