Mark Bingham Hub




Former College Football Player And NFL Prospect Brad Thorson: ‘I’m Gay’

Thorson

Brad Thorson, a former college football player who played as an offensive lineman for both Wisconsin and Kansas and was briefly with the Arizona Cardinals, came out as gay in a blog post published on July 4th:

I've been told many times that the process of coming out is cathartic. Yet since coming to terms with my sexuality, I found it arduous and unnecessary. At least that's what I kept telling myself. So today, I'm putting it in writing and not looking back.

I'm gay.

I'm also an athlete. For years, I struggled to unite these two identities in my own mind. Not until after my professional athletic career came to an end did I allow myself to understand my sexuality. Now, three years later, I'm finally ready to share that with people.

Thorson, whose time in the NFL was shortened by a broken foot, decided to leave football behind him after a brief stint with the Canadian Football League's Regina Roughriders.

In his post, Thorson also commented on the influence other out gay athletes have had on him and how he hopes to be able to offer solace and inspiration to other gay athletes who have yet to come out:

If not for the strength of athletes like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Brian Sims, I would likely still be struggling with my own cognitive dissonance. Each of their stories reinforced the truth that there is nothing wrong with being a competitive athlete and gay. Just as their stories helped me come to understand and accept myself, I've gotten to a point in my life where I hope to help someone else to understand his or her identity as a gay athlete. […]

This year has been quite a journey for me. I consider myself incredibly lucky for the opportunities I've had, my amazing friends and family, and to live at a time of great progress in gay rights. I wish that I could've shared this part of my life with more people individually but I'm also ready to move forward. My hope in coming out is that at least one other gay athlete will understand he or she isn't alone and that it really does get better.

Thorson’s post also chronicles how joining gay rugby team the Fog and meeting the mother of gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, who was himself a member of that team, helped him in his journey to reconciling being gay with being an athlete. 

Thorson told OutSports that he had wanted to write that post "many times before but just didn't have the right words to say.”

Thorson later took to Instagram to share his father’s response to him coming out. In an email, Thorson’s father wrote:  

Each of you have brought so many special blessing to me and taught me how hard and yet joyful it is to be a father. It would be a lie to say I wasn't shocked when you came out to Mom and I but, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my level of tolerance and understanding given my years of intolerance.  It is quite amazing to me how blindly bigoted I have allowed myself to be and for what?  I think we fear what we don’t fully understand, like the monster under the bed, there’s really nothing there to be afraid of! I have always and will always be the biggest advocate (except for your mom) for my kids.  You all mean the world to us and today I celebrate the joy of having all of you in my life. 

Read Thorson's declaration of independence, HERE.


National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Announces New Inductees

HallofFameSideProof3It's been almost a year since the first-ever inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame were honored in Chicago. Included were big-name athletes such as Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis, Jason Collins, and Johnny Weir.

This year, on July 11, a new crop of athletes and organizations will be honored in The Windy City. Among them will be: baseball player William ‘Billy’ Bean of the San Diego Padres, British diver Tom Daley, and rugby player Mark Bingham — who is known both as the namesake of the Bingham Cup and for his tragic death on United 93 in the 9/11 attacks.

Football fans will note the absence of NFL newbie Michael Sam. While Sam is still green in his career, it's worth noting that the list includes three former NFL players who came out as gay after their time in the league ended: Esera Tuaolo, Wade Davis, and Jerry Smith (deceased 1986, a casualty of the AIDS epidemic).

While some of the most visible inductees are LGBT athletes, organizations (e.g. Nike) and sports businesspeople are also included. As are straight allies — deceased San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (portrayed by Victor Garber in Milk) is also included in the list. The complete "roster" of inductees, via GNN:


John Amaechi, retired NBA player;
 Mark Bingham, rugby player (deceased); Tom Daley, Olympic medal winning diver
; Wade Davis, executive director of You Can Play and retired NFL player
; Fallon Fox, mixed martial artist
; Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player
; Mayor George Moscone, straight ally, former Mayor of San Francisco (deceased)
; Chris Mosier, founder of transathlete.com
; Nike, corporation
; Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer
; Jerry Smith, NFL player (deceased)
; Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit organization
; Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player
; Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL player.


Mark Bingham's Mom Responds To Carson Daly

MarkBingham

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.


Mother of Gay 9/11 Hero Mark Bingham Offers a Heartwrenching Reflection on 10th Anniversary: VIDEO

Hoagland

 

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Alice Hoagland reflects on the death of her son Mark Bingham, and all those aboard Flight 93 in an emotion-stirring video:

The most visible torchbearer of Bingham’s legacy is Alice Hoagland, his mother. After losing Bingham -- her only child -- Hoagland became a tireless advocate for issues that were important to her son. Now 61, the retired United flight attendant is a proponent of aviation safety, a spokesperson for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and an avid supporter of rugby.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via kenneth)

Continue reading "Mother of Gay 9/11 Hero Mark Bingham Offers a Heartwrenching Reflection on 10th Anniversary: VIDEO" »


'With You' Chronicles Life of Flight 93 Hero and Rugby Player Mark Bingham: Watch Trailer

Withyou

With You, a documentary about the life of late Flight 93 hero and rugby player Mark Bingham, will play at L.A.'s Outfest film festival tonight.

Writes Karen Ocamb at LGBTPOV:

"Since Bingham was a film buff, much of the documentary is old home movies shot throughout his life, including his 'mullet' days as a fan of heavy metal. Ironically, Bingham shares his birthday on May 22, though 40 year apart, with another LGBT hero – Harvey Milk. And like the movie and documentary on Harvey Milk, With You has the potential to inspire LGBT and questioning youth and provide another role model who breaks the stereotype of how society thinks a gay man is supposed to behave. On 9/11, like a civilian soldier, gay Mark Bingham gave his life for his country."

Watch the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Karen has a lengthy post on the film, well worth reading if this interests you.

Continue reading "'With You' Chronicles Life of Flight 93 Hero and Rugby Player Mark Bingham: Watch Trailer" »


Watch: Mark Bingham's Mother Reacts to News of Bin Laden's Death

Hoagland

Meredith Vieira spoke this morning with Alice Hoagland, the mother of gay United Airlines Flight 93 hero Mark Bingham about her reaction to the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed.

Said Hoagland: "This is a very strange and bittersweet day..."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

EARLIER REPORTS...
Watch: Hillary Clinton Statement on Death of Osama bin Laden [tr]
Watch: Interviews at the White House Rally Celebrating Bin Laden's Death [tr]
Dick Cheney Congratulates Obama in Statement on Bin Laden Death [tr]
Video: Inside the Compound Where Bin Laden was Killed [tr]
Bin Laden Buried at Sea; Hoax Death Photos Emerge [tr]
Video: Fire at Bin Laden Compound During Raid [tr]
Breaking: President Announces Osama Bin Laden Is Dead [tr]

Continue reading "Watch: Mark Bingham's Mother Reacts to News of Bin Laden's Death" »


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