PGN: Philadelphia Gay News

Meeting long-ago activist-neighbor from South Beach on the job

I was sent off on the street again. A week before, the newspaper publisher had admonished a charity for not doing its mission as well as it should’ve, and he gave specific examples, using names, on it should do.
So for the Street Talk segment, I was trying to talk to people and ask them what their favorite LGBTQ charity was (along with getting their name, neighborhood, occupation and taking a picture).
I’m very good with that stuff. The people dictate into my phone and then we edit. I let them approve the picture. So unless there’s a conflict of interest, there’s really no downside!
It’s just really a pain in the ass to get anyone to talk. It’s not that I’m ferocious-looking when I go out for work (most of the time) but people are listening to stuff on their ear buds, or on the phone, etc.
There’s hardly a chance to say hello and get a response without having to repeat myself, if they even bother to notice and are thoughtful enough to listen for a moment.
I’m still not good at it after three times, but there are places I feel would be better than others, and I think people walking in small groups are more likely to take a few minutes to answer than someone by themselves.
Keep in mind, I’m generalizing.
Two Fridays ago, I just happened to ask a guy what his favorite LGBTQ charity was and he said something familiar. It wasn’t something I’d thought about recently, and it turned out he founded it – and we lived a block away from each other in South Beach in the mid-1990s!

2019-02-22 wayne besen two

We’d been in touch years ago but never met, but I still had his email address on my phone. He’d recently moved to Philadelphia, and I got a lead story out of the whole thing. (And perhaps more importantly, a third person for the Street Talk column that’s below!)
update logo
Click here for an update on how his anti-Google crusade turned out.
Another story had come from editor Denise. She was thinking about the recent Chinese New Year and suggested talking to LGBTQ Asian Americans about their experiences, especially the LGBTQ angle. Somebody suggested a friend of a friend who is Vietnamese, but the Tet festival is about the same, and another suggested a Chinese friend. So two talks on the phone, and some emailing and research, got me this story.

2019-02-22 asian

Then, a story I wrote as a brief a few weeks earlier but had to go due to breaking news. Unfortunately, the media file to download isn’t available anymore but you can find the large selection of gender-neutral ties, and the uses for them, by clicking the link below.

2019-02-22 gender neutral ties

And back to Street Talk. Wayne Besen from the top of this post, who started Truth Wins Out, was put in the middle. His big fight now is with Google for not removing an app that some religious organization has that suggests ex-gay therapy, as if there’s some way to change gay people! Experts have declared that practice nonsense, it’s illegal for underage people in several states, but it still goes on, and desperate parents are willing to pay big bucks to supposed therapists who aren’t what they seem.
Wayne told me Apple and Microsoft stopped offering the app as soon as they found out what was on it. Then, Amazon did a few weeks later. But for some reason, Google is keeping it and not discussing it.
Click here for details on Google and the horrific app.
Click here for Wayne’s article on my article. (It’s great being a tag!)


And most importantly, click here to sign the petition demanding Google stop peddling the dangerous “pray away the gay” app targeting LGBT youth. You can also watch the number of signers go up and up!

2019-02-22 street talk
The charities’ sites are, and

Click here to see some of that edition of Street Talk. I don’t know why that sweet last person, Mary, was left off the web but unfortunately, I have nothing to do with that.
But that’s not all. Person-on-the-street Suz Atlas chose Action Wellness as her favorite LGBTQ charity and they were not only nice enough to notice, but they put a picture of Suz and her quote on their Facebook timeline and Twitter feed.
So Street Talk did more than just talk, last week. It led to a front-page story, and a new contact for the bosses, and good publicity for the paper!

Click here to return to the PGN, 2019: Reporter, Copy Editor, Social Media Specialist page.

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