Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Mark Segal

Mark Segal was born on January 12, 1951, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He moved to New York City for three years after graduating high school; while there, he participated in the Stonewall uprising of 1969, participated in the Gay Action Group, and founded Gay Youth. After moving back to Philadelphia in 1972, he served as the political chair of Philadelphia’s Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), which focused on lobbying for gay and lesbian initiatives, such as a local gay rights bill and a state commission dedicated to gay and lesbian issues. He also helped found the Gay Switchboard and Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) and has served as PGN’s publisher since its creation in 1976.

In the early 1970s, Segal was the leader of the Gay Raiders, which conducted zaps against Ed Hurst, Larry Kane, Johnny Carson, and Walter Cronkite, as well as several local politicians. He also went on hunger strike to support the passage of the local gay rights bill.

As a journalist, Segal wrote the acclaimed “Mark My Words” column; he also helped found the National Gay Press Association in the 1970s and the National Gay Newspaper Guild in 2006. Segal later partnered with the Obama administration to establish the first LGBT-friendly affordable housing apartment building for seniors, which opened in 2013. His 2015 memoir And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality details his experience as a gay rights activist and won several awards. Segal shares more about his Philadelphia experiences in his interview with the Philadelphia LGBT History Project, 1940-1980, by Marc Stein. A list of Segal’s zaps, many in connection with the Gay Raiders, can be found in the LGBT Direct Action Bibliography, Chronology, and Inventory, 1965-1974, by Marc Stein.