Mark Bingham’s Mom Responds To Carson Daly


Carson Daly forgot a very important person when he claimed gay people couldn’t tackle a crazed pilot: Mark Bingham, the gay man who helped tackle terrorists on doomed 9/11 Flight 93.

But Alice Hoagland, Mark’s mother, reminded the radio host in an interview with TMZ:

Yes, my gay son was known in our family for bringing me flowers on my birthday and Mother’s Day.  He also was known for careening down the rugby pitch, and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, for charging unarmed down the aisle of a doomed Boeing 757 to face knife-wielding Islamist thugs in a hijacked cockpit.

No one among his pick-up team of fellow passengers was asking ‘Are you straight?  Are you gay?’  No one doubted that a guy who weighed 220 and stood 6’4” tall – who could run over a charging opponent on the field, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona earlier that summer – would be an asset to a desperate group trying to overcome a threat onboard an airliner.”

The world has its share of strong, heroic gay men. Gay men in sports uniforms and military uniforms have been winning America’s games and fighting America’s battles for a long time: quietly, humbly, and in the face of vicious bigotry.

I hope you and I may have an opportunity to talk sometime.  I prefer to believe you didn’t mean to offend. Good luck to you.

Take that, Mr. D.


  1. SFIKUS says

    First, I seriously, seriously doubt Mr. Daly would be first in line to immobilize a manic, incoherent pilot mid-flight, which makes the comment even dumber.

    Second – when he stated that he was “attempt[ing] to make fun of myself and others,” did he just include himself as teh gay?

  2. Johnson says

    Let’s not forget that Mr. Daly affected a high-pitched, lispy, falsetto voice while making his joke. It’s pretty damn obvious what Mr. Daly thinks of gay people.

  3. says

    Daly claims that he is not that kind of guy to say such things. In truth, he is that kind of guy, because he said them. It is like saying, “that’s so gay”, but who says that anymore? He should look inside and learn about himself.

  4. Dback says

    I’ve met Alice a couple times (I taught as a long-term sub at Los Gatos High School, where Mark went to school a couple decades ago)–Mark had a plaque in his office (which you can see in the brilliant doc “With You”)before his death that read “ALICE HOAGLAND IS A GODDESS.” This is completely accurate.

  5. Matt26 says

    I would like to see Carson D, Rick S, Mitt R, Michele B, Sarah P, Pat R, Maggie G etc to respond to this. Really, someone should get their responds.
    Mark was and is a very brave man. It won’t bring him back, but at least he will make his mother proud forever.

  6. says

    But Alice won’t be given a spot on the radio to defend us. So the media will continue to demonize us to distract attention from real corruption. They get away with it because our leaders are inept. Glaad should buy a tv spot for Alice. Instead they send a press release, which the press are free to ignore.

  7. Rick says

    Wait a minute. I am confused. I thought you all believed it was perfectly OK to be a big ole sissy-coward who runs from fights. (“Hey, that’s just who I am and I should be accepted and respected for it.”) So why the defensiveness from some of you when gays are characterized as such in situations such as this one?

    Er, you seem to be making the argument that I always make and am blasted for, namely that the sissy-coward image (and unfortunately reality in many cases) is what drags gays down in public opinion and prevents us from being truly respected.

    What gives?

  8. Lymis says

    If Daly means his apology, he’ll have this woman on his show, and apologize in person, as well as discuss gay stereotyping.

    I doubt he’ll do anything of the sort.

  9. James Q. says

    You miss the point, Rick. This isn’t an either/or situation — i.e., “either” be a sissy (your term) or be a man. The point is that it’s nobody decision but OUR OWN to decide how we want to be in the world. We don’t need to default into acting masculine and resisting effeminacy (since that’s playing the homophobe’s game of deciding how we “should” be), and we also don’t have to stifle critique when someone else (like C. Daly) wants to use tired stereotypes to make us smaller in the world. Bottom line: WE get to call the shots about who we are and how we act, not someone else. And because the real-life effects of inequity are still very much in play, the stakes are higher than you might think.

  10. Rick says

    @James Q Nicely stated, but it reveals the blind spot that so many of you have. Your real core value is non-conformity to ANY and ALL cultural standards of behavior….in other words, you are social anarchists. And it is a blind spot because the practical reality is that no society can function in the total absence of ANY behavioral standards.

    You want to use your sexuality as an excuse for being able to behave any way you want to, when that option is not available to anybody else–and, as disingenuous as they are, that is what the Religious Right means when they say gay activists want “special rights” rather than equal rights.

    By making absolute non-conformity your central goal rather than the elimination of homophobia, per se, you make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to ever accomplish the latter.

    Not behaving effeminately is no more of a “burden” than not picking your nose in public or not defecating in public or not going nude in public. Indeed, it is a totally unnatural behavior and one has to go out of one’s way to engage in it.

    At some point, you either decide you want to be a part of society or you want to be a perpetual outcast group and some of you seem to have decided on the latter, to the detriment of us all.

  11. Alan says

    I think Carson just made a dumb statement. I don’t believe he is anti-gay. I mean, c’mom, if we can’t make fun of ourselves……

    Not all of us gay guys can look like me. 6 foot and solid muscle, so give Carson a break. He just put his foot in his mouth.

  12. bandanajack says

    i finally realized why i was so unsatisfied with daly’s apology. i don’t want an APOLOGY, i want him to feel SHAME! he SHOULD be ashamed and i hope reading alice’s comment his face BURNS with shame, at the insult to his memory and to the countless active duty military glbt warriors and veterans, and equally to our glbt law enforcement officers.

    i would also be quick to point out that flight attendants, often gay although by no means exclusively so, are just as likely to take down a danger to the airplane.

    keep those cards and letters coming in, with specifics, so that daly and all his ilk can have faces and names to think about.

  13. James Q. says

    Rick, your logic is faulty. You’re positioning something you call “non-conformity” in opposition to a decidedly conformist, heterocentric state of being/behavior. And you’re saying that all people should then conform to that heterocentric state of being. Ironically, that’s asking for special rights. What I and many others believe to be true is that no one should have the right to monitor/dictate what constitutes *appropriate* personal behavior. (Picking one’s nose in public is a pretty bad analogy, by the way, since that’s an action, not an identity trait.)

    Bottom line: being “part of society,” as you put it, should not entail having to “be” like anyone else. That’s guaranteed in our Constitution and in the Bill or Rights. (Try making your argument stick with any other identity category — should women have to downplay their identities “as” women? should black people have to downplay their identities “as” black? should the elderly have to downplay their identities “as” elderly? should the disabled have to downplay their identities “as” disabled? — and you start to see how shaky those sorts of arguments are.) I would think it’s much preferable to stop all of this anxiety about inclusion and exclusion and understand, instead, that no one has the right to determine how another person “should” behave.

  14. Rick says

    @James Q Yeah–you just introduced the other fallacy that has caused our movement such problems. Effeminacy is not an “identity trait”–it is an action, just like picking your nose in public.

    Nobody is born with the tendency to refer to other men as “girls” nor do they swish when they walk because their body structure causes them to (it does in the case of women) nor do they back down from fights even when physically capable of defending themselves because there is something about their genetic make-up that drives them to.

    No, that is all learned behavior–and to the extent it is an “identity trait”, it is one that is a product of oppression and CONFORMING to the expectations of a homophobic society that if you are a gay man, you will be a sissy and a coward…..rather than being a form of defiance.

    So, just as the gay movement for many of you has become about non-conformity rather than eradicating homophobia, it has also become about defending effeminacy rather than defending our right to be have a respected place among other men as masculine equals.

    And that is what is killing us as a movement and will prevent further progress, if it is not corrected.

  15. aron says

    In the same way that Chris Matthews shouldn’t be giving legitimacy to Perkins, can’t we stop giving legitimacy to Rick and his constant inane blathering by not replying to him? Or, even better, a bit of focused censorship and just ban him from the comments altogether? Free speech is great an’ all but Rick gives free speech a bad name. Not to mention the bad name he gives to “straight acting” gays. How long do we have to read his pointless, self-hating, ill thought out drivel? Or at least mark his comments with a warning flag, cos I am often half way through his comments before I realize it’s him again – and by then I’ve already pulled large clumps of my hair out with my bare hands.
    Pretty pu-lease?

  16. says

    Fun Fact to Remember: At no point will any of the commenters who negatively talk about “femme guys” be able to provide a URL where they show themselves, in any capacity.

    why? well, that should be obvious.
    they’re not Out, they’re not as “masculine” as they wish they were, and they’re the ones who are still living in fear of Straight People.


    This is why they come on here, every day, to anonymously complain about “femmes” – these are pathetically cowardly men who are living Closeted lives, and they’re angry that the type of gay men that they’ve been brought up to loathe actually are more brave, and have bigger balls, than them.

    They wil come on, they will spew their same nonsense, but it will always be from a place of cowardly anonymity.

    why? because it’s all they have left. if they don’t get a place to anonymously complain about “femme gays” then they’ll realize that they’ve wasted their entire lives. which they have.

    don’t get angry with them. pity them. they’ll never know the joys of an authentic existence.

    anyone care to prove me wrong by providing a URL where they show themselves?
    didn’t think so.

  17. says

    to those who’ve been engaging Rick in dialogue, ask him instead for proof that he is what he claims we all should be.

    truly. don’t talk to him anymore. ask him for video evidence that he’s actually “living” this manly-example he demands everyone else live by.

    only ask for proof, not words.

  18. Rick says

    “and by then I’ve already pulled large clumps of my hair out with my bare hands.”

    Yes, the truth is very, very painful for many of you. I know. But it is still the truth–and running away from it never results in success in achieving one’s goals.

    I harbor no illusions about how difficult it is going to be to overhaul a movement that has become so severely misguided over the years–and to alter long-entrenched patterns of behavior that are difficult to eradicate, but if that is not done, then we will never find our place in the social mainstream.

  19. James Q. says

    @ TJ, Aron, Littlekiwi, and others — I don’t comment/post on here often, so I had no idea about the Rick situation. Sorry for engaging him! Lesson learned.

  20. Fead Huck says

    I think Mark Bingham is an American Hero who happened to be gay. He looks like a butch man & like most of us who do – we all have those ‘fem’ moments once in a while & I’m not ashamed of that.

  21. ophu says

    Rick, as much as I’d like to be in the “social mainstream”, I’m afraid gays will always be in the minority. What makes you think we can do it all on our own? The fact is some men cannot behave in a way that is stereotypically male, short of stripping away their identities and replacing them with something else. Why would anyone voluntarily submit to that?

    I hope no one discriminates against you for behaving in a way that is ueber masculine and totally Army. I certainly wouldn’t. I might find you a bit vexing and try to avoid you if I can, if you try to foist your behavior on me and demand I live up to YOUR standards. I think most people would.

  22. Bob says

    Can people PLEASE stop responding to “RICK”? Is like trying to teach your dog how to speak.

    You’re right Felix. Besides, my dog – even though he’s having trouble with diphthongs – loves me unconditionally, no matter if I lisp, prance, and swish or if I stomp, belch, and fart in public.

  23. Rick says

    “I hope no one discriminates against you for behaving in a way that is ueber masculine and totally Army”

    @OPHU I don’t behave in a way that is “uber-masculine” or “totally Army” any more than most men do. No need to be a drama queen. This is really simple. It is just about gay men behaving in a normally masculine way, as virtually all straight men manage to do. It is not hard, it does not require any great effort, and it does not involve any kind of over-the-top machismo.

  24. Larry says

    I’d rather not encourage you by responding to you, Rick, but dear lord, you are tiresome. Do you have to ruin EVERY posting by repeating the same nonsense? Don’t you EVER think about anything else? Towleroad is NOT about you and your silly ideas.

    Please go away…and take your internalized homophobia with you.

  25. ophu says

    @Rick: I sincerely hope you never have a gay kid. You’re starting to remind me of Rick Santorum saying “Don’t use the pink bowling ball.” 😀

    Wait a minute… Rick is that you?

  26. LoFromWisco says

    Alan, I’m with you. I think he just made a stupid statement. In all honesty, even though he’s hardly still relevant, he IS a celebrity and should think before he makes remarks like this that could be offensive. He’s just an idiot in my book.

  27. Pete n SFO says

    Alice has always been straight-forward, unapologetic, and extremely proud with good reason of her son… as are many of us.

    I was at the Grace Cathedral when she left the stage during Rev Williams inappropriate comments… she left not in a huff, but politely, and as she has done now, she has made her point quite clear in the most civilized way.

    I’m sure Mark would be equally & enormously proud as well.

  28. andnowwhat says

    thank you ms. hoagland for being such a tremendous ally. the strength of your character, obviously imparted to your son, is an inspiration to the lgbt community.

  29. uffda says

    Rick is pretty bad alright (there are lots of fine men who are naturally effeminant and deeply hurt by prejudice against them) but, sure enough, KIWI gets the scent and starts his pushy legion postings. I no longer read him because I know that he’s chanting his URL show me chant and “your balls aren’t big enough” claims, among other rote, yawn, responses. We were doing just fine without him. Go home Snot-Boy, we don’t need you.

  30. AlamoSpartan says

    @Rick: Please explain all those 100% hetero guys who lisp, swish, loooooove china patterns, etc. Yes, Virginia, there are straight guys who “act gay.” What horrible misstep did they take to come out that way?

  31. Andrew says

    I’ve not commented before on a towlerroad post or the subsequent comments. And being an australian living 12000 miles away I have no idea of who Carson Daly is, or the importance of his show. But the hijacking of the comments here into a brawl over what’s masculine and whats not pisses me off.
    The wonderful thing about Alice Hoagland’s comments is they are full of quiet dignity and strength to correct a statement that was trite and ill-considered. It seems a pity to me that her words have not been given the respect they deserve here. Perhaps we could all learn a lesson in appropriate responses from Alice Hoagland.

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