Mark Segal: In His Own Words Part III

The Gay Liberation Front, Elton John and who plays him in the movie

(Photo Left) Mark with Sir Elton at the official July 4th ceremony. Courtesy of George B. Feder, Top Gun Corporate Photography, Ltd.

The following is the third of a three part interview with Mark Segal, nationally recognized gay rights activist and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, which was conducted by LCP publisher, Ken Smukler, upon the publication of Mr. Segal’s memoir “And Then I Danced: Traveling The Road To LGBT Equality.”

KS: As a publisher, you know what being short for space is. What if they were writing your epitaph, but they were really short on space, and they said, “Mark, you’ve had a lot of victories, but you get to only pick one and you have to get rid of all the others, which is the one victory?” I am not talking about personal victories, because I assume Jason is probably your greatest victory, right?

MS: Yeah! I am a happily married man.

KS: I know, but apart from that, what was the one victory you would give up all the others for?

MS: Interesting question in the sense that I don’t have one thing. My newspaper is my thing. Founding Gay Youth, probably. The first leadership role I ever had, at eighteen years old, and the first gay youth organization in America. [It is the] first one dealing with suicides and bullying, and we reach out to high schools. That’s amazing to me. Building the senior building is amazing to me. All of it. But I can tell you, no matter what, I think isn’t going to matter. I already know what it will be. It will be “Mark Segal man who disrupted Walter Cronkite”. That is what it is going to be.

Editor’s note: Segal was a founder of the Gay Liberation Front which he describes as being “largely ignored in the history books even though it helped forge the foundation upon which the [LGBT] community is built.” The “senior building” was Segal’s vision for the first senior citizen housing project in America built by and for the LGBT community; a dream that became reality in 2014 with the opening of the John C. Anderson Apartments.

KS: Okay, so tell us one thing about Elton John that nobody knows.

MS: Okay. If you do a concert with Elton John, you will learn very quickly that you never can escape Elton John. You are surrounded by him constantly.

Editor’s note: Another brainchild of Segal’s was the Philadelphia Freedom Concert and Ball, an HIV/AIDS awareness ball held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 4, 2005. The event raised over $1 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

KS: I have to tell you. One of my favorite chapters of the book was the first date with Jason. It was like one of the most romantic chapters I have ever read. So here is my last question. Okay?

MS: Go ahead.

KS: Who plays Jason in the movie?

MS: We will have to find the most handsome leading man in Hollywood and pick one.

KS: I am not giving you a pass. You have to pick somebody.

MS: I don’t know Hollywood names, I really don’t. Give me some names, I’ll tell you. Give me some names.

KS: Brad Pitt.

MS: Too old! But no, Brad Pitt could play him well. I mean, a brilliant guy, yeah, Brad could play him well. For me it is going to be the guy who —

KS: Jake Gyllenhaal.

MS: Oh, Jake Gyllenhaal! Jake Gyllenhaal would be great. He would. Matt Damon would be good for him too. I mean he did the Good Will Hunting thing, which is Jason. Jason is a brilliant mind.

KS: We will settle on Matt Damon. Who plays you?

MS: See now you have me in bed with Matt Damon. This is not a bad interview.

The young me, gets played by. You ready, we already talked about this? Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter. Take a look at his picture and take a look at my picture at that time period.

KS: How about the old you?

MS: We wanted to, before he died, the guy who did Sopranos.

KS: James Gandolfino?

MS: Tony Soprano. But there’s going to be no movie.

KS: Oh, there’s going to be a movie!



Mark Segal: In His Own Words Part III

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Liberty City Press is an independent weekly newspaper distributed by the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Media Network whose members include Philadelphia Sunday Sun, The Philadelphia Gay News, Al Dia, The Metro Chinese Weekly and The Metro Viet News.

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