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Mark My Words

Mark My Words

by Mark Segal

Friday, August 18, 2017

Conversion Therapy is Torture

To the entire LGBT community: Let’s begin as a community to state the truth without putting lipstick on a pig. Personally, it sickens me when I see someone from GLAAD or HRC on television calling conversion therapy “praying the gay away.” That is downright as truthful as a Donald Trump tweet, and might show how we attempt to soften our message for consumption by the mainstream. Or, it might hide something very sad: our own attempt to not accept what has been done to us as a collective community for years – and that, my friends, is torture.

Recent battles over the rainbow flag and the Star of David have exposed long-simmering biases.

Hard headline, so let me make it more clear.

Whoever is in charge of the Chicago Dyke March has their heads up their asses. If you’ve read this column before, you’ve never read language like that from me before, but I’ll let you judge. Here are the facts:

Pride is very special to me, since I helped in the first Gay Pride march in 1970. At that time it was not a “Gay Pride” march, but rather a march to show — using today’s terms — our resistance to society’s portrayal of us. It was also a celebration of what we created in the year since the Stonewall Riots. But mostly, it was a statement that we no longer would be in the closet. We were out loud and in your face!

A couple of years ago, the author and director of the Academy Award-nominated How to Survive a Plague, David France, contacted me for his next project. We chatted a few times and then he arrived at my door with a complete film crew and research staff. He was going to spend the day filming me talking about my sister from Gay Liberation Front in New York, Marsha P. Johnson. Last week, France was kind enough to ask me to the Tribeca Film Festival for a showing of that film, now titled The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.

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