Monday, January 10, 2011

LGBT Horror and Heroism in Arizona

Daniel Hernandez is shown with Giffords in this image from his Facebook page.
Everyone has heard of the attempted assassination this past Saturday of democratic Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived though is seriously injured.

Not everyone necessarily knows about the LGBT connections to this story, though.

Rep. Giffords was a strong LGBT-positive official. The Human Rights Campaign gave Giffords an 81 percent pro-LGBT rating on its congressional scorecard for the 110th Congress. She supported repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and supports a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

HRC said, “We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy. Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona.”

Here's her support record:


Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913):


Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act Motion to Recommit (H.R. 1913):


Murphy Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5136):


Souder Amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3293):


Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017) (Co-Sponsorship):


Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act (H.R. 2625) (Co-Sponsorship):


Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 3567) (Co-Sponsorship):


Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 1024) (Co-Sponsorship):


Early Treatment for HIV Act (H.R. 1616) (Co-Sponsorship):

The second gay connection is Daniel Hernandez Jr., a 20-year-old University of Arizona student who’d been working as an intern for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (for five days), who is credited with saving her life after she was shot on Saturday.

HE is openly gay and serves as a Commissioner on the Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues.

According to the Arizona Republic, Hernandez was standing about 30 feet from Giffords during the “Congress on Your Corner” event outside a Safeway store near Tucson. When the gunshots began, Hernandez ran toward them and began checking the pulses of people who’d been hit. When Hernandez got to Giffords, he used his hand to apply pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap and held her upright so she wouldn’t choke on her blood.

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure to the wound until someone brought clean smocks from the meat department of the grocery store. He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived, then climbed into an ambulance with her.

Official records of events tend to downplay sexual orientation, but even when done for the best of reasons (e.g., to protect someone's privacy or because it shouldn't matter) it creates a kind of historical closet. It's important for everyone to be aware of how gay people and allies who support equality for gay folk are involved in the ordinary and tragic events of life.

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