Mark Segal

Time Well Spent

Filed By Mark Segal | February 21, 2013 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Allyson Schwartz, John C. Anderson Senior Apartments, LGBT Media Journalists Convening, LGBTmedia13, Philadelphia

An easy way for a columnist to get a column out quickly is to do an update on previous columns. Thumbnail image for bigstock-Love-Park-Philadelphia-3779582.jpgAllow me to use that shortcut this week.

That was going to be my opening line until I actually looked back at the last year, and you know what, it's a look back in pride and wonder at how we found the time to accomplish all we did.

First up has been the planning for the LGBT Media Journalists Convening. This is an invite-only event presented annually by Haas Foundation of San Francisco that brings together LGBT media members from across the country to discuss issues affecting the LGBT community. It's one of the most prestigious invites to get for LGBT journalists, put together by Matt Foreman, former executive director of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, and Bil Browning of the Bilerico Project blog.

In past years, the event has taken place in New York City, San Francisco and, last year, in Houston, where, with the okay of Mayor Nutter, I made the pitch for the 2013 Convening to be held in Philly. Thanks to the strong support of the Greater Philadelphia Marketing Tourism Corporation and Comcast, more than 100 LGBT bloggers and media types will be enjoying Philly hospitality this weekend. Follow along this weekend on social media with #LGBTmedia13.

My most time-consuming project has been The John C. Anderson Senior Apartments, an LGBT-friendly senior complex that is currently the nation's largest LGBT-friendly capital building project. The $19.5-million project is fully under construction. The foundation is complete and the steel structure on first floor is going up. We are now in the full process of working out details on what the lease-up process will be and finalizing partnerships with our community organizations. The building is set to open in February 2014. Yep, that's just one year from now.

At the groundbreaking for the affordable senior-housing facility in October, we hosted several LGBT pioneers -- which led me to think of their historic gifts to our community and how much of their contributions have been ignored. This led me to a decision to write a column where I promised my brothers and sisters from Gay Liberation Front 1969-71 to work on a documentary.

The response that idea has received amazed me. We have already shot some footage, arranged to film most of the members still with us, staged a reunion, got feelers from other documentarians and even have seen a nibble for broadcast. And SAGE has signed on as a supporter. While at times I thought I had no idea where each project was headed when I started, each of them is moving forward, and fast. Where there is a vision, there is a way.

And along the way we predicted, two months ago, that Allyson Schwartz would be a candidate for governor, which appears to be coming to fruition. Treasurer Rob McCord is also emerging as an attractive gubernatorial candidate. And don't be surprised to see some good LGBT candidates in the spring primary.

Other recent developments include my new Philly.com column, in which I explained how guns and immigration were LGBT issues, and expressed outrage at Philly Mag's treatment of the LGBT community. And there was the incredible joy of hearing our president say, "Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall." It brought chills and pride to a long road.

Time well spent.


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