Photo credit: NOAAThe events of September 11 did not spare any group in the U.S., including the LGBT community. Among the openly LGBT heroes of September 11 were Mychal Judge, chaplain of the New York Fire Department and the first official casualty of the World Trade Center, and Mark Bingham, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 83, who helped bring down the plane in Pennsylvania to foil the terrorists’ plans. Partners Daniel Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa died on United Airlines Flight 175 along with their son, David Gamboa. And there were others, including flight officers and crew on the planes and workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Twenty two of the victims (nine women and twelve men) are known to have surviving same-sex partners. Lambda Legal and the Empire State Pride Agenda worked tirelessly to ensure surviving partners received aid from New York State and the Federal Victims Compensation Fund. Despite their best efforts, they were not always successful.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, LGBT workers in the fire, police, and rescue services continue to serve. They were also among the volunteer civilians who gave selflessly of their time to assist rescuers. LGBT people also serve, although silently, in the U. S. armed forces, at home and overseas.

I can think of no greater arguments for LGBT rights than these.