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News Briefs: Gay publisher donates items to national museum

by Cynthia Laird

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, left, listens to Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal explain some of the items he donated to the National Museum of American History. At lower left is an old Bay Area Reporter T-shirt. Photo: Patsy Lynch
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, left, listens to Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal explain some of the items he donated to the National Museum of American History. At lower left is an old Bay Area Reporter T-shirt. Photo: Patsy Lynch   

The gay publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News has donated a trove of materials to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Mark Segal made the donation May 17. The items document his almost 50-year career in LGBTQ activism, from the Stonewall riots to today.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) was among those on hand for the donation last week.

In addition to his papers, Segal donated artifacts from his personal collection, including the first state-issued gay Pride proclamation (1975), buttons, and T-shirts (an old Bay Area Reporter T-shirt is among the items). Segal also contributed a donation can that he used during the 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day march (recognized as America's first gay Pride celebration) and a flyer for the march, as well as his personal marshal's badge.

"We fought for pride, for equal rights, our place in the military, and our right to marry the person we love," Segal said in a news release. "I am humbled and honored to know the National Museum of American History will preserve and tell our struggle for generations to come."

In June 1969, a teenaged Segal traveled from his home in Philadelphia to New York City, and within weeks found himself in the middle of the Stonewall raid and uprising. Following that experience, he devoted his life to activism and helped organize the New York Pride March in 1970.

He became known for interrupting live news broadcasts to protest the lack of coverage of LGBT issues, famously leaping in front of Walter Cronkite on the "CBS Evening News" with a sign that read, "Gays Protest CBS Prejudice." Later reports document that he and Cronkite became friends.

"Few people have been as fearless, creative, and relentless in their activism for LGBTQ rights as Mark Sega," Katherine Ott, curator at the museum, said in the release. "The materials he is donating are an insider's guide to most of the big issues of the past 50 years."

Segal is the founding publisher of PGN (1976). He wrote his memoir, "And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality" in 2015 and took the top prize for book writing at the 2016 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association awards.

Early bird tickets available for leather cruise
Golden Gate Guards will hold its eighth annual leather cruise on San Francisco Bay Saturday, September 29, and early bird tickets are now available.

The event, held the night before the annual Folsom Street Fair, benefits the San Francisco Leather Alliance, which has a long-term goal of creating a fund to purchase a permanent home.

The cruise departs and returns to Pier 40. The cruise will travel under the Bay Bridge to pass Angel Island and Treasure Island. Going north, the group will cruise near Sausalito and take a turn around Alcatraz Island. From there, the trip heads west to the Golden Gate Bridge for a chance to see it and the city of San Francisco at sundown. Returning to dock, people will be able to see the Bay Bridge lights.

There will be a full no-host bar and a late afternoon buffet, as well as music and dancing.

Leather or uniform attire is strongly encouraged.

Early bird tickets are a $75 donation and available through July 30 or until they sell out. Regular tickets are a $90 donation. Drink tickets may be purchased in advance.

All attendees receive a commemorative pin, sailor hat, and lei. Souvenir photos will be taken on the dock or on board and emailed after the cruise.

The Golden Gate Guards was originally founded in 1976 as the Imperial Guards of San Francisco, and the club served as an unofficial liaison between the Imperial Court and the Leather-Levi's community. In late 1986, with the Imperial Court's blessing, the guards group became an independent organization.

For tickets and more information, visit

Veterans mayoral forum
Ahead of Memorial Day, the San Francisco Veterans Commission will hold a veterans mayoral candidate forum Saturday, May 26, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the War Memorial Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue.

Organizers noted that there are over 27,000 veterans in the city, more than 70 percent of whom are over the age of 55.

The four major candidates will speak individually. They will be asked to present their veterans-focused platform and then have a moderated question and answer session before giving closing comments.

Scheduled candidates include Angela Alioto at 3 p.m.; Jane Kim at 3:30; Mark Leno at 4; and London Breed at 4:30.

There is no cost to attend. People can sign up at

Gay author to talk at Dignity event
Gay author Felice Picano will talk about gay Hollywood in the golden age Sunday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Dignity San Francisco's meeting at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Avenue.

Picano met many Hollywood actors and writers in the 1970s and 1980s, and this talk is based on what they told him first or second hand. His most recent book is "Nights at Rizzoli."

There is no cost to attend.

Memorial Day at the Presidio
The Presidio Trust, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the city of San Francisco have announced the city's official 150th Memorial Day Commemoration, which will be held Monday, May 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the National Cemetery at the Presidio, 1 Lincoln Boulevard.

A grand march with veterans is scheduled for 10:30, followed by the formal ceremony at 11. There will be a picnic at the conclusion of the ceremony, as well as cemetery tours led by National Park Service interpretive rangers Fredrik Penn and James Osborne.

The ceremony will provide the public with an opportunity to understand and share the burden of military service, according to a news release. Selected speakers will recount personal military experiences that have impacted individuals, families, and communities.

The event, which is free with food to purchase, is open to the public.

For more information, visit

Poll workers needed in Alameda County
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has announced that poll workers are needed for the June 5 primary election.

Bilingual poll workers are especially needed. People who speak English and at least one of the following languages are encouraged to apply: Chinese, Punjabi, Khmer, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog.

Poll workers will be paid up to $195.

For questions and information, contact the registrar's office at or (510) 272-6971. To apply, visit

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