September 11, 2001: one of those defining days of our lives. Where were you that day? I remember it clearly. I was training for a marathon and running the perimeter of UCLA, listening to my radio as I ran. I heard about the first crash into the World Trade Center. I made it back to my apartment to watch the second plane crash into the Center, staying glued to Katy Couric and Matt Lauer as they showed us what was happening. Everyone was in total disbelief. I felt a deep, deep sense of horror. My resident hall students at UCLA had just returned to school, preparing for the opening of the quarter just a week away. Four hundred students were petrified, frozen, unable to think about the next step. All seemed to be suspended in time. My role – and that of my colleagues – that day was to be present for the students, to watch with them and try to process with them, to try to make sense of something so incredibly senseless. It’s been 16 years but the memory is so clear…and my heartaches once again as we remember.
What to do today to resist: Participate in any and all ways you are personally able.
Today in LGBT History – September 11
On September 11, 2001, acts of terrorism in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania cost thousands of lives, including not only the heroes and martyrs everyone knows about but also some who were Middle Eastern or Muslim, some who were gay, lesbian, bi or trans, and others who were rendered more or less invisible in the media coverage that followed. Among so many others, let us remember:
Father Mychal Judge (May 11, 1933 – September 11, 2001) was a self-identified gay man (though celibate due to Catholic restrictions for priests) and a long-term supporter of Dignity (a Catholic LGBT activist organization advocating for change in the Catholic Church’s policies/teachings on homosexuality). He ministered to all people no matter their identity. He considered himself an “agent of change in both church and society”. His love and ministry touched everyone he encountered. He died while administering last rites to a fallen firefighter at the World Trade Center.
Mark Bingham (May 22, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an openly gay, 220-lb. rugby player who was among those believed to have fought the terrorists hijacking United Flight 93, and brought it down in a field in Pennsylvania, potentially saving hundreds or thousands of lives. The apparent target was Washington, D.C.
Ronald Gamboa , (Apr. 30, 1968- Sept. 11, 2001), his partner of 13 years, Dan Brandhorst, (1960-Sept. 11, 2001) and their 3-year-old son, David, died when their flight was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center. Mr. Brandhorst, 41, was an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles and Mr. Gamboa, 33, was the manager of a Gap store in Santa Monica. David, 3, who was named for Daniel’s brother, was adopted in 1998.
1885, UK – D. H. Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) is born in Nottinghamshire, England. He was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. Some of the issues Lawrence explores are sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. A heavily censored abridgement of his book Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf in 1928. This edition was posthumously re-issued in paperback both by Signet Books and by Penguin Books in 1946. Lawrence’s fascination with the theme of homosexuality, which is overtly manifested in Women in Love, could be related to his own sexual orientation.
1961 – KQED in San Francisco broadcasts The Rejected, the first made-for-television documentary about homosexuality on American television. The documentary was made for under $100 and features experts speaking about homosexuality from their various fields’ perspectives. Each expert dispels a negative stereotype in her or his segment, giving positive and normalizing view of homosexuality. The program is well received by viewers and critics. The Rejected was produced for KQED by John W. Reavis. It was later syndicated to National Educational Television (NET) stations across the country. The 60-minute film received positive critical reviews.
1976 – A California Appeals court upholds lewd conduct convictions of two men arrested for “kissing in public” in a parked car at a freeway rest stop. Both are ordered to register as sex offenders
1993 – The film And the Band Played On premieres. It was based on a 1987 book by San Francisco Chronicle journalist Randy Shilts (August 8, 1951 – February 17, 1994). The book chronicles the discovery and spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with a special emphasis on government indifference and political infighting, specifically in the United States, to what was then perceived as a specifically gay disease. Shilts’ premise is that AIDS was allowed to happen: while the disease is caused by a biological agent, incompetence and apathy toward those initially affected allowed its spread to become much worse. The film stars Lily Tomlin, Richard Gere, Alan Alda, Matthew Modine, and Anjelica Houston. It was dedicated to notable people with AIDS and survivors of the epidemic.
Remember… and let your voice speak out and change the world!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)