Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011 Page: 18 of 48
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As we remember the victims
and heroes of 9/11, we should
remember that LGBT people
were part of each group
A S our country commemorates the 10th
anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, we;
will be bombarded with endless images
©f the World Trade Center's Twin Towers ablaze
and lots of handheld video of people in terror.
From the standpoint of the effect of the attack, it
caused the terror it was designed to cause, and
moreover, it focused us on frightening images of
explosions and disaster.
Great media stuff, but not very good for get-
Yet, the whole event has become part of the
American portrait. It was history and as such it
will always be with us.
Aside from the terror, 9/11 did draw the coun-
try together. One of the most encour-
aging things about Americans te
how we react when the going gets
tough: We pitch in and try to help.
We act with a selflessness that is a
heartening example of what is best
about our country.
And part of that American por-
trait are the LGBT people who fell
victim to the attack, as well as those
who stepped up and become heroes
Most of us are now familiar with
Father Mychal Judge, chaplain for
the New York Fire Department. He rushed into
the World Trade Center that morning and he not
only helped the victims, he administered last
rights for many.
He selflessly did his job, ignoring the peril until
debris from the North Tower crashed into the
South Tower, killing Father Mychal instantly.
Judge was lauded in the media but only later
did anyone mention that he was gay.
Equally familiar is Mark Bingham, who was
among the passengers on United Right 93 that
were not content to sit and wait while terrorists
turned the jet into a guided missile. Mark was a
gay rugby player, and his efforts, along with a
small band of passengers, prevented a much
greater catastrophe when they rushed the cock-
pit. Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania
instead of into Washington, D.C.
Less well known was David Charlebois, the
first officer of American Airlines Flight 77. He
was killed by the hijackers on their mission to
crash the jet into the Pentagon. Even
less publicized was the fact that
David was a member of the Gay and
Lesbian Employees of American Air-
lines group and helped carry that
group's banner in the March on
Washington in 2000.
In such an appalling tragedy, there
were many victims. Most were never
mentioned in the media, but their
loss was just as great to their families.
What's worse is that many had
partners who had to go through ar-
duous court battles to receive the
compensation that was freely given to the fami-
lies of the straight victims.
Some of the LGBT Americans who died will
never be known. They may have been closeted,
or maybe their families refused to share details of
their personal lives with officials or the media.
Whether they are named or unnamed, they are
irrevocably woven into the fabric of our country's
history, and we should not forget them.
Like most folks, I have become numb to the
horror of that day. I was attending a leather con-
ference in the woods of Michigan and was just
having a cup of coffee as I watched the news re-
ports of a plane crash in New York City.
Then along with several friends from New
York I watched the second plane slam into the
World Trade Center towers, and almost at once,
cries went up all around the campgrounds.
I suspect the same kinds of anguished voices,
were heard around the country from LGBT and
straight Americans alike. It was a moment that
bonded us into one people.
It's sad that today we seem to be splitting apart
as never before.
I know a lot of it is the whole media circus that
surrounds the current election cycle, and its can-
didates making points with anti-gay rhetoric.
Still, it would be worth reminding those shrill
voices that on Sept. 11,2001, we all cried out to-
gether in shared pain and anguish.
So next time you hear someone arguing
against LGBT rights, ask them why they would
be so vindictive to the brave heroes of 9/11, and
worse, why they would be so hateful to those in-
nocent LGBT people who died.
This Sept. 11,1 will recite the names of those
people I know were LGBT. It is a short list so far,
but I suspect as the stories of the victims finally
come fully to light, it will inevitably grow.
Until then don't forget: David Charlebois, Fa-
ther Mychal Judge, Mark Bingham, Renee Bar-
rett, Angela V. Lopez, Waleska Martinez, Patricia
A. McAneney, Catherine Smith, Eugene Clark,
Jeffrey Collman, Michael A. Lepore, Eddie Og-
nibene, John Keohane, William "Tony" A.
Karnes, Pamela J. Boyce, Luke A. Dudek, Seamus
Oneal, Wesley Mercer, James Joe Ferguson, Sheila
Hein, Graham Berkeley, Carol Flyzik and Daniel
Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa, and their son
David Gamboa-Brandhorst. ■
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist
and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Al-
liance. His blogisat httpj/dungeoiidian/Mogspotcom
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011, newspaper, September 9, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239184/m1/18/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.