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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 15, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 11
Letter from Philly - Why does the LGBT community eat its young?
Section One
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Letter from Philly - Why does the LGBT community eat its young?

by Mark Segal - Philadelphia Gay News

One thing you will rarely see in this column is anything about New York, simply because the mainstream media is headquartered there and believes that anything that happens in New York is somehow important to the rest of the world. And, of course, they want to remind themselves that they live in the best city in the world. Sorry, New York, far from it. But that is another column. This column is about something happening in New York that also takes place around the country.

It's about killing our own, or how the LGBT community keeps itself down. In this case, it's Christine Quinn, who happens to be the out president of the New York City Council and a buddy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as the frontrunner in the coming mayoral election. From my friends in New York, there is much grumbling about her candidacy among those not supporting her. People are saying she's a Bloomberg crony, that she doesn't know the issues, that she doesn't treat our community well, etc.

First, no politician is universally loved. But unless you can show me something truly unethical about her - a campaign based on a lie or some personality trait that would disqualify her from the position - it is in the LGBT community's best interest to stand tall with her.

Second, if you've made it to the leadership of City Council, you most likely understand politics and know how to maneuver. And if, by this time in her career, there are no serious scandals, then your opinion on her may likely be based on her political positions - how right or left she is, or who her political bedfellows are. But there is one overriding issue that really should make you put your philosophical positions to the side.

THE BOTTOM LINE
It's this: Quinn would be the first out mayor of the nation's top media market. The media love to broadcast almost anything New York-related. To restate: Quinn will get lots of national exposure, which translates into LGBT exposure around the nation, especially in places where LGBT issues are not often seen in the media. And, more importantly, she can and will be a role model for Lesbian women leaders.

My theory on LGBT equality has been based on media since the 1970s. Yes, you read that right. It has been my career to appreciate how media can help us gain equality. Quinn is now part of that equation. Having a person from the LGBT community not just at the table, but at the head of the table, is a major step forward, especially in such a high-profile media market. It's similar to the experience of Tammy Baldwin's election to the U.S. Senate.

One major point of any civil rights movements is that people have a place at the table. Those opposed to the LGBT community gaining power need to read history.

Jump onboard, or stay in the ghetto.

Mark Segal is editor of Philadelphia Gay News and a columnist for Philly.com. He can be reached via Facebook or Twitter.

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