While every life that was lost in the September 11th attacks was precious. I wanted to take a moment today to mention and mourn the loss the our LGBT brothers and sisters who are no longer with us because of the events of that fateful day.
Their exact numbers will never be known. But we know they were there. Airline passengers and crew, office workers, police and firefighters. We learned that missing rescue personnel were gay, and that many of their lovers, some of whom were also police and and fire fighters, had to grieve in silence for fear of outing them and in too cruel a way learned that the closet was a terrible place to grieve.
That was 15 years ago. And still feels like yesterday to many.
That was the day the world changed forever. The day that the last of America’s innocence was snatched away.
Wile we remember all the victims of that fateful day let us take a moment to remember out fallen LGBT brothers and sisters who must not be forgotten.
They are in our hearts, in our thoughts and in our prayers this day,
Below is a partial list of those we lost:
Father Mychal Judge. New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Judge, 68, was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter at Ground Zero.
Mark Bingham, 31, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, helped to thwart the plane’s hijackers. September 16 is officially designated Mark Bingham Day in San Francisco.
Michael Lepore, 39, was a project analyst at Marsh & McLennon. He is survived by his partner of 18 years, David O’Leary.
Carol Flyzik’ was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, It was the first of two to crash into the World Trade Center. Flyzik, who was a registered nurse and a member of the Human Rights Campaign, is survived by Nancy Walsh, her partner of nearly 13 years.
David Charlebois, the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Charlebois was a member of the National Gay Pilots Association. Charlebois is survived by Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years.
Graham Berkeley, 37, a native of England who lived in Boston, boarded United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11 on his way to a conference in Los Angeles. His plane became the second hijacked airliner to crash into the World Trade Center.
Ronald Gamboa, 33, and his partner of 13 years, Dan Brandhorst, 42, were traveling with their 3-year-old adopted son, David. Brandhorst and Gamboa were founding members of the Pop Luck Club, an L.A. organization for Gay men interested in adopting children.
James Joe Ferguson, 39, director of geography education outreach for the National Geographic Society, was on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon.
John Keohane was killed by falling debris. Keohane worked at One Liberty Plaza near the World Trade Center and died when the towers collapsed. After the planes hit the Trade Center towers, Keohane met Mike Lyons, his partner of 17 years, on the street when Keohane was suddenly killed by falling debris. Tragically, Lyons committed suicide March 1, 2002, on his 41st birthday.
“Roxy Eddie” Ognibene, member of the Renegades of New York’s Big Apple Softball League, worked as a bond trader for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of WTC 2 and was tragically lost in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.
Luke A. Dudek, Was a food and beverage controller at Windows on the World. Dudek is survived by his partner of 20 years, George Cuellar. Dudek’s first day back to work in New York was Sept. 11. He died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Catherine Smith, 44, who worked on the 97th floor of one of the World Trade Center towers.
Waleska Martinez, 37, a computer whiz in the Census Bureau’s New York office, was aboard flight 93 that crashed outside Shanksville, PA.
Jeffrey Collman, flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower. He is survived by Keith Bradkowski, his partner of 11 years.
Eugene Clark, worked on the 102nd floor of the south World Trade Center tower. He sent his partner Larry Courtney a voice message stating “I’m OK. The plane hit the other tower. And we’re evacuating.” Clark was never seen by his partner again.
Andrew LaCorte. worked in One WTC and was killed instantly when the first plane hit. At the time he had no partner but is remembered and missed by his many friends and family.
Renee Barrett, Renee was injured in the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, died on October 18 of her injuries. Barrett was a member of the Gay Metropolitan Community Church of New York. She leaves behind her life partner Enez Cooper and her 18-year-old son, Eddie.
Seamus O’Neal, also lost his life in the attacks on the World Trade Center. He is survived by his partner Tom Miller.
Patricia McAneney was the fire marshal of her floor in the first World Trade Center tower. She is survived by Margaret Cruz, partner of 18 years.
Pamela Boyce, was at work on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower when it was struck. She is survived by Catherine Anello her partner.
Tom Ryan, one of just three out-of-the-closet firefighters in New York, [says] he “learned that about 25 closeted gay firefighters died on Sept. 11,” and he knows “others who survived but are still afraid to come out.”
“As the days went by, we learned that some of the missing rescue personnel were gay, and that many of their lovers, some of whom are cops and fire fighters, were grieving in silence for fear of outing them. There were also gay cops that lost family members that were rescue personnel. We all learned too quickly and in too cruel a way that the closet is a terrible place to grieve.” — Edgar Rodriguez, NYPD
Francis S. Coppola, a New York City detective whose partner, a firefighter named Eddie, died in the attacks, summed up his feelings about t Sept. 11th:
“I have never been more proud of being an American or a New Yorker, but at the same time it has made me sad. The greatest country in the world, and yet we are treated like second-class citizens…. The great love of my life died doing what he did best and what he loved to do: helping others. I have never been an activist or ever wanted to be one; however, it is time we stand up and be counted and demand equality — nothing more or nothing less.”
***NOTE: This list of LGBT lives lost on 9/11 is by no means complete. Unfortunately there is actually no way to know the exact number of LGBT victims. If there are those missing that you would like to remember please feel free to add them to the comment section and I’ll update the list accordingly. – WK