What a year, and what a ride. As we all do, I’m beginning to look back at my year. And for me, it certainly was a special year, one in which I learned a lot. Let me share with you some of the lessons I took from 2015.


Working with good people brings appreciation. The PGN staff won more journalism awards this year than in any other in our history. The reason is simple: our staff — from our editor to our ad reps to our office manager and graphics team. We all try each day to deliver to our community the best newspaper we can. It’s a team effort. And I take pride in the PGN staff every day. And your support has helped make all of that award-winning journalism possible.mark-segal


My city was determined to be one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the nation for the fourth straight year by Human Rights Campaign. We will have a new mayor who, from the beginning of his career, has been a strong LGBT ally. And, oh yes, major victories on Election Day for our state Supreme Court, including the election of Kevin Dougherty, who champions trans issues.


On a personal note, my year was consumed by my just-released memoir, “And Then I Danced: On the Road to Equality.” Writing a memoir is totally different than writing a weekly column. And while we were preparing the announcement about the book, I learned I had won the top national opinion-writing award from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. That was not only a complete surprise but it meant a complete change of schedule for the rollout of the book.


What surprised me the most was that my memoir won universal praise from mainstream, as well as LGBT, media across the country. The rest of my year was devoted to a book tour, signings and appearances. The book’s release was more than anything I expected — and the incredible reviews and sales (it went into a second printing within a month!) were the icing on the cake. I need to thank you, my readers, for that. Thank you!


The book did what my friends had been telling me for years but I hadn’t had the time to notice: It gave me an opportunity to look at my work and, more importantly, to notice the friendships I’ve made and kept through scores of years: from grammar school to my days in New York with the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Youth and to all those with whom I’ve partnered on projects. And then there was a pleasant surprise: I got to see all those old and new friends who stepped forward to help promote the book. It became a best-seller thanks to them, and you.


And if all of that were not enough, I get to say I’m a very happily married man. Those who are regular readers of this column know that the last three years I’ve ended my column with “and next year will be even better.” You would think it would be hard for me to say that again since this was such a very special year. So the year ahead might not be better but, yes, it holds promise.

 

Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at PhilaGayNews. His memoir AND THEN I DANCED is available online and at your favorite bookstore.

 

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