Gabrielle Giffords

Gay Intern Helped Save The Life Of Gabrielle Giffords

Daniel Hernandez Jr., an openly gay 20-year-old intern for Gabrielle Giffords, is being credited with saving the congresswoman's life.

Daniel Hernandez, who confirmed that he is gay in an interview with Instant Tea on Sunday morning, is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. “She’s been a great ally to the LGBT community,” Hernandez said of Giffords during the brief interview across a bad connection.

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, who has experience in triage, spoke to Christiane Amanpour this morning about his immediate instincts right after the shooting. ABC News reports:

"When this happened, I kind of just shut off all emotion because I knew I wouldn't be any good to anyone if I had a breakdown," Hernendez remembered. "I had to lift up the congresswoman because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe okay because there was so much blood." Hernendez used smocks from the grocery store to bandage the wounded victims.

"The congresswoman was alert. She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me," said Hernendez. "I wasn't able to get any words from her. She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just 'if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you're okay.'"

Hernandez had only been an intern for Representative Giffords for only five days.

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  1. @ Bruce Simpson - unfortunately Oliver Sipple, the gay man who interfered with Sara Jane Moore's attempt to kill Gerald Ford, wasn't ignored. The San Francisco Chronicle "investigated" him, learned that he was gay, (possibly from Harvey Milk) and outed him in print. As a result he lost his job and his relationship with his devoutly-Baptist family. His life spiraled downhill rapidly from there.

    I trust the story of Daniel Hernandez will have a much happier ending.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Jan 9, 2011 6:19:14 PM

  2. I hadn't realized that it's time to drop the "openly" thing... but you're right, commenters, it is

    hernandez FTW!!!

    Posted by: thiago | Jan 9, 2011 7:05:19 PM

  3. Daniel Hernandez Jr is a hero.

    He was in an extremely perilous situation and chose to risk his life to save others; he did not run to hide for safety. That is the definition of hero.

    The fact that he is gay and Latino (which has been ignored) is important because both minorities are vilified - especially in Arizona - and having a hero that is both minorities gives the general populace a real view of heroic actions by a member of society they have decided is anti-______.

    People like Mr. Hernandez change hearts and minds by showing us, with actions, we may be wrong about the judgements we made of people like him.

    Posted by: truthteller | Jan 9, 2011 7:29:22 PM

  4. Good for you, James Quagliano, you just established that you're somehow better than a hero acting under the bloody pressures of a murderous moment! Don't you feel proud of yourself now? She was choking on her own blood, Nurse James! A head wound, especially one which we now know pierced only one hemisphere of her brain, most likely causes peripheral bleeding in the head that can indeed drown a struggling victim if they're left prone. Why do you feel the need to in any way denigrate his heroism? If you are gay as I am, it always astounds me how petty & self-aggrandising as an "authority" members of our community can be on any given subject when the facts are overwhelmingly against their criticisms. The fact that Representative Giffords was gay-affirming in a state not renown for its inclusiveness, is another important fact that had young Mr. Hernandez in her orbit of supporters. Shall we stick to the facts and learn more about the world than we might already?

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | Jan 9, 2011 7:31:24 PM

  5. Truthteller you are a witness to yet another amazing fact about this young hero. As the grandson of four immigrants myself, two of whom were "illegal Italians" when it wasn't widely prosecuted, I am even more proud of the character exemplified by this young, politically informed, and humanitarian American. Let's keep in mind that if those who seek to repeal the protections of the 14th Amendment from our Great Living Constitution win, then this young guy might possibly have been deported. Since I'm not privy to when his ancestors came to America, I can't be sure. What I am sure of is that my father and his siblings who were born here to "illegal Italians" would not have been able to fight Germany's Nazis nor Japan's hegemonists during World War II as they did. Now buried in Arlington Cemetery because of his unsung heroism, I can easily imagine my Dad wanting to shake the hand of Mr. Hernandez in appreciation for his civic-minded pursuits and bravery under fire.

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | Jan 9, 2011 7:51:30 PM

  6. Great guy! And only 20!

    Posted by: kodiak | Jan 9, 2011 8:50:07 PM

  7. But, but she was a Nazi! Only in America are you a Nazi who votes for healthcare reform-hence targeted by Palindrome,for DADT repeal and immigration issues. And still be a democrat.

    Why didn't someone tell Palin she was, lol, shooting up the wrong tree?

    Oh, only in right wing America is the sky actually black not blue and the left eat babies.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 9, 2011 9:08:40 PM

  8. Hey Rat, Greg etc

    Do you think she realised she was standing next to an immigrant!

    Why don't you post on his Facebook your comments that she was centre-right? And from our knowledge of righties, she would've left his immigrant gay ass for dead?

    Go on. You're both so full of so much intelligent comments that it'd be a shame as concerned and decent gay men you would waste this potential advice only in a gay blog.

    I'll be watching.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 9, 2011 9:16:02 PM

  9. These comments are vile, this kid is a Hero!! I am so proud to be gay like him!

    Posted by: ty | Jan 9, 2011 9:19:56 PM

  10. Is he an illegal immigrant?

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 9, 2011 9:44:05 PM

  11. truthteller said:

    'The fact that he is gay and Latino (which has been ignored) is important because both minorities are vilified - especially in Arizona'


    What is a 'Latino'? Is 'Latino' a race? Not to my knowledge. How is a 'Latino' a 'Minority'? Minority what? Minority ethnicity? Well, if you're born in and live in America, you're American. 'American' is an ethnicity. If you become a naturalized citizen, you're 'American'. As for being a hyponated American [Italian-American,German-American,Hispanic-American, etc.,] THERE IS NO 'ETHNIC' MAJORITY. Everyone is an ethnic minority by that standard. So how are 'Hispanics' or 'Latinos' a minority, anymore than I 'm a minority? In actuality, I'm a gender minority [male], an ethnic minority [by the standards of hyphenated Americans] a sexual orientation minority, and because I was born and raised Catholic, I'm a religious minority. How come I'm not entitled to Affirmative Action? When are people going to grow up and stop playing these word games and victim games?

    And I'm part 'Latino' if you consider the fact my paternal grandfather was From Spain. I'm an ethnic mongrel. But I'm really just 'American'. America is my place of birth, where I was raised, my culture, my accent is American, and where I live.

    As for Arizona, it's heavily 'Hispanic'. And it's BS to say 'Hispanics' and 'Latinos' are vilified. ILLEGALS are vilified. Difference.Gays? Yes, gays are still vilified to a degree 'Latinos/Hispanics' certainly aren't.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 9, 2011 10:06:51 PM


    Posted by: anthony | Jan 9, 2011 11:00:08 PM

  13. @Paul: I come here for info on events that intersect the gay community. I doubt that I'm alone in that.

    Posted by: darkmoonman | Jan 10, 2011 1:40:18 AM

  14. I just LOVE reading this story:

    He's LATINO.
    He's GAY.
    He's a HERO.

    Oh, and he's a HUMAN BEING who helped another HUMAN BEING.
    Thank you Mr. Hernandez!

    Posted by: FunMe | Jan 10, 2011 1:53:38 AM

  15. Laws protecting federal officials from assault: good But in America laws protecting people from assault aka hate crimes: bad....TF???

    Posted by: vonlmo | Jan 10, 2011 3:34:36 AM

  16. @BRUCE SIMPSON: Not sure what you meant, but true heroes are content to retreat from the spotlight and not linger once the moment of their heroism has passed.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 10, 2011 3:48:43 AM

  17. @ ratbastard
    First of all, congratulations on your name. It fits you perfectly.

    You write:
    "What is a 'Latino'? Is 'Latino' a race? Not to my knowledge. How is a 'Latino' a 'Minority'? Minority what? Minority ethnicity? Well, if you're born in and live in America, you're American. 'American' is an ethnicity. If you become a naturalized citizen, you're 'American'."

    Let me enlighten you with a few facts. America is a continent, therefore anyone born in that continent is American! When Latinos make up 15% of the population in the USA, that makes Latinos a minority. 15% out of a 100% is a minority: simple math.

    You may not have a culture or heritage that formed you and instilled values you cherish and that may be why you would want Latinos to discard their heritage and become clones of you, if that is the case, I feel sorry for you and I understand why you fear anyone who is different.

    You claim to be Latino because you have Spaniard blood? Spanish people are Europeans, just like Brits, Scotts, Germans, you get the point.

    More from you:
    "As for Arizona, it's heavily 'Hispanic'. And it's BS to say 'Hispanics' and 'Latinos' are vilified. ILLEGALS are vilified."

    Latinos know when we are vilified because we are the recipients of racist vitriol. How do you know who has documents and who doesn't? You don't, therefore every Latino is a suspected undocumented human being.

    Your post is a perfect example of what I am talking about. You babble incoherent and ignorant vitriol about people you obviously have deep hatred for. You don't even know what an American is!

    Once again: America is a continent, all the way from Brazil to Canada. We are all Americans because we were all born in the American continent.

    Ratbastard's post confirms the need for my original post. The Gay community needs to unite with every person and every minority in order for us all to attain equality under the law.

    "No one is free until everyone is free." MLKJR

    Posted by: truthteller | Jan 10, 2011 7:55:00 AM


    You're absolutely right, but those with fear and hatred in their hearts are too blind to care. It is up to the people of conscience to stand up for those that are not able to do it for themselves.

    Thanks for sharing your ancestors' heroic service to our country.

    Posted by: truthteller | Jan 10, 2011 8:10:19 AM

  19. Thank you Daniel,for your courage. The fact that he is a intern in Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's office is important. I can assure you, that there are few politicians who would of had the courage to have an openly gay intern as part of their staff. I think it is an important fact to this story. Also, that representative Gifford is Jewish, may have been the reason she was targeted. The shooter,was a weak bigoted kid, who boasted on his web-site that he read Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. I just hope that we are not returning to the politics of the 1960s, when assassinations often took good leaders lives, and changed the direction that voters wanted. Congresswoman Gifford, was a middle of the road Democrat from a heavily Republican area.
    However, keep in mind what President Eisenhower said about taking a stance in the middle of the road, can leave you open to the extremes of both sides of a political
    issue. Wake up America, before it is too late.

    Posted by: jerry pritikin | Jan 10, 2011 8:58:30 AM

  20. We can cure you.

    Ask for Marcus

    We fixed Ted Haggard's bent.

    Posted by: Titanium Spine | Sep 3, 2011 11:53:28 PM

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