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Mark Segal, LBGT activist and journalist, speaks at KU

By Andrew Kutzer

Mark Segal, a nationally renowned LGBT activist and journalist, spoke about his life and career on Oct. 6 in the Alumni auditorium in the MSU.

Segal talked about his long career of activism in New York City and the steps he took to promote LGBT issues and awareness.

One of the founding members of the Gay Liberation Front, Segal organized demonstrations, created LGBT organizations and started the first gay pride march.

According to a KU news release, Segal is one of the founders and former president of the National Gay Press Association and the National Gay Newspaper Guild. He created the Philadelphia Gay News in 1975.

According to Segal, for those growing up in the 50s-60s, if you were gay you could not tell anyone. “In churches, synagogues and mosques we were considered immoral,” said Segal. “To the police, we were considered illegal. To governments, we were invisible.”

Segal moved to New York City in 1969, hoping to find people like him. “All I knew was that I wanted to live with my people. People like me,” said Segal.

According to Segal, police would enter known gay bars and harass those inside. One night, after a raid, he would be part of an action group that organized the Stonewall riots. “From the ashes of Stonewall came the ashes of the Gay Liberation Front,” said Segal.

Christine Price, director of the GLBTQ resource center and women’s center, recounted Segal’s story. “To me, it was not only his positive spirit, but also his dedication. He was involved in so many aspects of it,” said Price.

Nykolai Blichar, an undergraduate assistant at the GLBTQ center, described what he thought about the event. “What I take away from it is, cherish what has been accomplished and always know that you can find a way to get something done,” said Blichar.

The event was held in honor of LGBT history month was sponsored by the GLBTQ resource center and Allies of KU. National Coming Out Day was held in the lobby of Old Main. “LGBT history month is a month to reflect upon not only the leaders and the movement but also the major milestones that we’ve achieved thus far,” said Blichar.

On Oct. 20, Spirit day will be observed followed by a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at 7 p.m. in the MSU MPR. “We also recognize how much further we still have to go yet, including things like: banning conversion therapy, nondiscrimination protections, hate crime laws, protecting LGBT youth and elderly,” said Blichar.

The event was free to the public and copies of Segal’s book “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality” was sold in front of the auditorium.

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