I Don’t Do Movie Reviews, But …

There is a movie that by seeing its trailers and advertising on TV, you’d have no expectation that it has any relevance to you or our community. At the end of 2018, there were five major movies with major gay characters or themes. Bohemian Rhapsody, Boy Erased, The Favourite, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and the one you must see, The Green Book. Here’s how IMDB (International Movie Database) describes the film: “A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.” The title refers to a publication […]

Ryan White Confab

“A Trump appointee walks into an AIDS conference” sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, doesn’t it? Just wait until you hear the punchline. It’ll kill you. The sight of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar standing before more than 4,000 public health and community-based providers of HIV services is shocking enough. Ludicrous is the word that comes to mind. Secretary Azar is one of the lesser-known names in the rogues’ gallery of Trump appointees, given that no outrageous charges of personal or professional corruption have maimed his tenure, at least not yet. He may actually […]

LGBT economic equality and empowerment

Last week, as I turned the pages of my local daily newspaper, the newspaper of record, I saw a few pages of ads from the city notifying the public of the coming elections, where the polling stations were and what was on the ballot. This is common practice from governments around the country. And in many of those municipalities, they also place those ads in community newspapers to ensure the participation of minority communities who have been left out of the process.   So I smiled when I saw those ads, since those same ads were in this paper last […]

LGBT History: 50 Years On: Busting the Myths of Stonewall

Each of us who were at Stonewall has a different view of the event. They run the gamut from it being a rebellion, a riot, a revolution, or simply a night of the queens having fun and taking over their home, Christopher Street. There are many other versions espoused by people who were there, historical scholars, journalists, and people who like to make things up. Let’s parse out the facts and inconsistences of all of these views. First: who was there? It amazed me, as I was on my book tour, how many people came up to me and asked, […]

Furor Over Int’l AIDS Confab Set for US

 It is every bit as absurd as it sounds. The International AIDS Society (IAS) plans to hold their global AIDS 2020 conference in San Francisco – an insanely expensive and privileged city located in a country that has become dangerously inhospitable to the very populations the IAS claims to serve. Thank goodness for a growing army of activists and organizations (under the banner of #AIDS2020forAll) who are demanding that the IAS remove the conference from the US. Maybe this all looks like inside baseball to you, a ruckus between factions, but I am here to tell you that this has everything to do with our […]

Trump, the Reality Edition

So how bad is it? Let’s take a look at what he’s done in almost two years in office. Tariffs: Trump’s favorite products – gas and oil – are suffering. The American Petroleum Institute stated last week that Trump’s tariffs will end our oil and gas exports. Raw-steel materials or aluminum imported from China are at a 20% higher cost for manufacturers in the US. Think about those cars and washing machines that Trump likes to brag about. Anyone own a Harley Davidson? They cost 20% more and sell for less, which translates to a loss of jobs at these […]

LGBT Commission Makes History – Again

History is repeating itself 42 years later. That’s where my thoughts were as Jason and I were on Amtrak on our way to a reception at the Pennsylvania’s governor’s residence this past Monday. Many of you often remark how joyous I am, and this week proved your point. How else to react to witnessing something that you envisioned 42 years ago once again being used to empower our community? Thanks to Gov. Tom Wolf, I had the honor to join him as he made history – or should I say, repeated history? It is a history I took part in […]

The Facts of LGBT Discrimination

This week, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney won a major court case that will most likely make its way to the US Supreme Court and affects our community more than the super-hyped wedding-cake case. And guess what? Almost no one noticed the significance of this major turn of events, but with much higher stakes, not only for you, but especially for religious organizations. Why does it loom large, with billions in tax dollars? Yes, we’ve reached a new stage of our struggle, where discrimination against LGBT people could cost billions – that’s billions, with a B – of dollars to those […]

The Best Gay American History Character Ever!

Readers here know my passion for LGBT history and my almost-decade-long research and writing on my favorite gay historical character – and I do believe he was a character. He is Baron Friedrich von Steuben. And there’s a longer version of his name, but that will do. It took years, but the research many of us have done is finally being acknowledged by most reputable historians, The Museum of the American Revolution and the Steuben Society of America itself, that von Steuben was a gay man. That’s very important – maybe the most important LGBT American-history fact there is. Let […]

Talk is Not Cheap

Ah, summertime – the living is easy. We toss our cares to the wind, head for a little R&R and, for many, that great summer vacation. So, it should be a time to relax, lay back, and enjoy the sunshine. But wait, we’re five months from an election. Here’s where I can envision you saying, “Mark, why are you bringing this up now?” Here’s the point: We can’t rest until we do something to put a check on the madness that is Donald Trump, and the harm already done to this country in just 18 months. At this point you’re […]