Tag Archives: In Memorium

September 11 – Remembering Our Lost LGBT Brothers and Sisters In The September 11th. Terrorist Attacks

While every life that was lost in the September 11th attacks was precious and deserves remembrance.  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 tragic event was 21 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 Americans who’s lives were lost on 9/11 is by no means complete. Unfortunately there is actually no way to know the exact number of LGBT victims of this tragic event. If there are those who were lost that that you would like to remember please feel free to add them to the comment section and I’ll update the list accordingly. – WK

5 Gay Celebrities and Heroes We Lost in 2018

5 Gay Celebrities and Heroes We Lost in 2018

Bob Smith the first OUT gay comic on the Tonight Show.

Bob Smith the first out gay comic to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Smith’s humor was gentle but smart, even when navigating the subject of his sexuality during a time when mainstream audiences were not accustomed to hearing such material.

Smith was also the first gay comic to star in his own HBO Comedy half-hour special.

He also appeared in a number of other TV shows, and wrote a collection of essays titled Openly Bob, which won the Lambda Literary Award for humor.

Smith died died after a long battle with ALS, on Jan. 20 at his home in Manhattan. He was 59.

Timmy Matley – Overtones singer

The Overtones star Timmy Matley died on April 9, after falling from a balcony.

The surviving members of The Overtones said in a statement: “‘It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce that our dear friend and brother Timmy has passed away.

“We know this news will be as heartbreaking for you all as it is for us… We appreciate your love and support at this difficult time.”

Timmy was one of three band members who identified as gay.

Hubert de Givenchy – Fashion Legend

Hubert de Givenchy, aged 91, died in his sleep at his home near Paris on March 10.

The famed French fashion designer dressed many iconic women including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich.

With his perfect manners and old-school discipline, Givenchy had a distinguished presence that colored the fashion industry for over fifty years. A consummate collector with an impeccable eye for objects as well as the interior decoration of houses, he left behind a fashion house that defined the very notions of refinement and elegance.

Givenchy was among those designers who placed Paris firmly at the heart of world fashion post 1950 while creating a unique personality for his own fashion label. In both prestigious long dresses and daywear, Hubert de Givenchy brought together two rare qualities: to be innovative and timeless,”

Tab Hunter – Movie Star

Hollywood legend Tab Hunter died on July 6, aged 86.

Hunter rose to fame in the 1950s, was known for starring in movies such as Track of the Cat, Battle Cry, The Burning Hills, and Damn Yankees.

He later became one of the few gay celebrities from the era to open up about his sexuality.

After decades of silence, Hunter confirmed long-standing rumors about his homosexuality in his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, published in 2005.

In a 2015 column written for THR, Hunter said that Louella Parsons of the Los Angeles Examiner and Hedda Hopper of the Los Angeles Times “would never openly discuss my sexuality — they couldn’t in those days — but both periodically made subtle references to it in their columns, wondering when I was going to settle down with a nice girl and then, after the studio began pairing me with my dear friend Natalie Wood on faux dates, asking if I was ‘the sort of guy’ she wanted to end up with.”

“If I had come out during my acting career in the 1950s, I would not have had a career,” Hunter said in an October 2017 interview. “Not much in Hollywood has changed in 60 years. I really didn’t talk about my sexuality until I wrote my autobiography.

“My film career had long since been over by then. I believe one’s sexuality is one’s own business. I really don’t go around discussing it. Call me ‘old school’ on that topic.”

Dick Leitsch – Gay Activist and Hero

Gay rights pioneer Dick Leitsch (pictured above) passed away on June 22 after a battle with liver cancer.

Leitsch was head of the New York Chapter of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group that was active in the 1960s prior to the Stonewall riots.

Inspired by the civil rights movement, the Society sought a policy of non-discrimination in New York City, and held a number of protests at bars seeking the right to be served.

During the 1966 ‘Sip In’ protests, Leitsch and fellow activists activists attempted to challenge state policy that could see venues’ licenses revoked if they served gay people, who were deemed to be “disorderly.”

Leitsch’s Sip-In led to a growing acceptance of gays at bars in New York and across the country. Perhaps most significantly, the publicity resulted in a Mattachine lawsuit in New Jersey, where in 1967 the state Supreme Court ruled that “well-behaved homosexuals” could not be barred from a drink.

The Sip-In is a milestone moment of American gay history.

Source #1 

November 27th, 1978: 37 Years Ago Today Harvey Milk Was Assassinated – #NeverForget


At 11 a.m. on a beautiful Monday morning, on November 27, 1978,  San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot and killed in cold blood by disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White.”

San Francisco ground to a halt. Many offices and businesses closed. People wept openly in the streets. Strangers hugged each other, trying to offer comfort. But there was no comfort to be foun

But Harvey Milk left us a legacy. He profoundly influenced gay and lesbian politics, and was a champion of human rights. Milk once said, “…you’ve got to keep electing gay people…to know there is better hope for tomorrow. Not only for gays, but for blacks, Asians, the disabled, our senior citizens and us. Without hope, we give up. I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it life is not worth living. You and you and you have got to see that the promise does not fade.”

Harvey’s martyrdom is a painful reminder of the length and difficulty of our  journey to equality and freedom.

Harvey Milk a true LGBT hero and legend. His actions and words must never be forgotten. ITo this day we must remember and listen to them, learn from them and follow them.

This is Harvey’s legacy to us.

You see there is a major difference–and it remains a vital difference–between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It’s not enough anymore just to have friends represent us. No matter how good that friend may be.

The black community made up its mind to that a long time ago. That the myths against blacks can only be dispelled by electing black leaders, so the black community could be judged by the leaders and not by the myths or black criminals. The Spanish community must not be judged by Latin criminals or myths. The Asian community must not be judged by Asian criminals or myths. The Italian community should not be judged by the mafia myths. And the time has come when the gay community must not be judged by our criminals and myths.

Like every other group, we must be judged by our leaders and by those who are themselves gay, those who are visible. For invisible, we remain in limbo–a myth, a person with no parents, no brothers, no sisters, no friends who are straight, no important positions in employment. A tenth of a nation supposedly composed of stereotypes and would-be seducers of children–and no offense meant to the stereotypes. But today, the black community is not judged by its friends, but by its black legislators and leaders. And we must give people the chance to judge us by our leaders and legislators. A gay person in office can set a tone, can command respect not only from the larger community, but from the young people in our own community who need both examples and hope.

The first gay people we elect must be strong. They must not be content to sit in the back of the bus. They must not be content to accept pablum. They must be above wheeling and dealing. They must be–for the good of all of us–independent, unbought. The anger and the frustrations that some of us feel is because we are misunderstood, and friends can’t feel that anger and frustration. They can sense it in us, but they can’t feel it. Because a friend has never gone through what is known as coming out. I will never forget what it was like coming out and having nobody to look up toward. I remember the lack of hope–and our friends can’t fulfill that.

I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope. Be they gay, be they seniors, be they black looking for an almost-impossible job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings. I use the word “I” because I’m proud. I stand here tonight in front of my gay sisters, brothers and friends because I’m proud of you. I think it’s time that we have many legislators who are gay and proud of that fact and do not have to remain in the closet. I think that a gay person, up-front, will not walk away from a responsibility and be afraid of being tossed out of office. After Dade County, I walked among the angry and the frustrated night after night and I looked at their faces. And in San Francisco, three days before Gay Pride Day, a person was killed just because he was gay. And that night, I walked among the sad and the frustrated at City Hall in San Francisco and later that night as they lit candles on Castro Street and stood in silence, reaching out for some symbolic thing that would give them hope. These were strong people, people whose faces I knew from the shop, the streets, meetings and people who I never saw before but I knew. They were strong, but even they needed hope.

And the young gay people in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias and the Richmond, Minnesotas who are coming out and hear Anita Bryant on television and her story. The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and more offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.

So if there is a message I have to give, it is that if I’ve found one overriding thing about my personal election, it’s the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it’s a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope.


On this day, 37 years later remember Harvey Milk and his words. And above all fight for your rights.


We love you.

We thank you.

We miss you, Harvey Milk.


Longtime San Diego LGBT Activist/Blogger Mike Tidmus Passes Away: In Memorium

Mike Tidmus was witty, cantankerous,  a apatheist [a person who is apathetic towards belief and disbelief in gods], a militant anti-theist, and a gay man who who was a long-term AIDS survivor and an early leader in LGBT civil right internationally and in the United States.

Mike was always front and center when it came to injustice against LGBT people – whether it was antigay Reggae singer Buju Banton or anything to do with Prop 8 or the Religious Right.

Mike battled HIV-AIDS for nearly 25 years  He was so disappointed with the poor HIV-AIDS care in San Diego he worked pasionately to try and improve it.

At 11:00am on Sunday, Jan. 15, Mike lost his battle.  Mike’s brother Linsey updated Mike Tidmus’ Facebook page with the news: “My name is Lindsay Tidmus, Mike’s brother. It is with a heavy heart that I inform his Facebook friends of Mike’s passing. He left us this morning after a battle with cancer.”

Mike was 60 years old.

Mike was a great man and a great champion of the LGBT community.  We were blessed to have and know him for the warrior he was.

Some stout hearts wear no armor, carry no swords…
But they soldier on with spines of steel, and hearts of lions.
Rest at peace, dear fellow.
Job well done…

IN MEMORIUM: Adele Starr Gay Rights Activist and First President of PFLAG Passes Away at 90

“We cannot understand those arrogant people who have decided that a heterosexual lifestyle must be imposed on everyone and that they have a monopoly on morality,” she wrote. “The American way is respect for diversity with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” – Adele Starr

Adele Starr died in her sleep Friday at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, where she had been convalescing after surgery.  Adele was no ordinary woman,  a Brentwood mother of five overcame dismay at her son’s homosexuality to become a leading voice for gay rights and marriage equality activist until her death this weekend at the age of 90

In 1976, Starr founded the Los Angeles chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a gay rights and acceptance organization known then as Parent FLAG, now as PFLAG.  In 1979, she spoke on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a march for gay rights — a seminal event often credited with uniting a then-nascent movement.

Two years later, she became PFLAG’s first national president; she served in that capacity until 1986 and remained a forceful advocate for civil rights and, in later years, for the legalization of same-sex marriage and remained fighting and involved for over 40 years until the day she she passed on

Adele Starr is a true hero and LGBT Activist Leader and who we should always remember and be grateful to  She will be missed.

Rest In Peace Adele and Thank you.

In Memorium: Golden Girl Rue McClanahan Dies At 76 – Betty White Releases Statement

Golden gal Rue McClanahan passed away from a major stroke early this morning surrounded by her family. McClanahan, who played the ever sassy and trashy Blanche Deveraux on the still-popular ’80s sitcom Golden Girls, had suffered a minor stroke earlier this year while recovering from bypass surgery. McClanahan ‘had her family with her. She went in peace.’

The last surviving Golden Girl, BettyWhite, mourns the death of her friend:

“Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that’s even possible.”

Blanch, Dorothy and Sophia are having cheese cake in heaven right now.

McClanahan talks about why gays love Blanche