"I thought I was a goner," said Ralph Buchalter, a gay
friend of this reporter who works at the American
Stock Exchange. "I saw the second plane hit. I was
late going to work. The towers are two blocks from
where I work."
"When the first tower came down, this noise started,
like a freight train, and people started screaming,
then there was just like this cloud of black. It was
like trying to outrun a train with thousands of other
people. People were screaming and fainting. The noise
was so deafening. There was nothing I could do. It
didn't matter if I ran 15 more feet. I stopped in the
doorway of an Indian fabric store."
"I thought I was fine when I woke up today
[Wednesday], and I went to breakfast and I got a
newspaper, and when I saw the pictures I almost
fainted and I had to leave the restaurant. You think
you're fine for a while and then one image comes into
your head, and I start crying. I'm alive. I'm very
thankful. I feel very lucky. The psychological thing
of handling the enormity of it is the difficult
Terrorists crashed hijacked commercial jetliners into
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Tuesday
morning. Both towers of the Trade Center collapsed, as
did one wall of the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked
jetliner en route to San Francisco crashed in rural
Pennsylvania. The cumulative death tolls may reach
"[I] will never be OK again," veteran New York City
gay journalist Andy Humm said Tuesday. "Sure to have
lost friends. Monstrous. Don't know what to do. Don't
know where to go. My roommate, Jed, witnessed it from
his office across the Hudson in Jersey City. Called me
to turn on the TV. Saw the second plane hit live on
TV. Went to an upper floor here in London Terrace and
saw the buildings burning. Went out for a few minutes.
Came back and they were gone. Gone."
"My father and three brothers own and run two coffee
shops down there; one is just up the street from WTC,"
said gay journalist and author Michelangelo Signorile.
"They got to the bomb shelter in their respective
buildings just after the explosions blew their windows
out and just before the Twin Towers collapsed. One of
their shops was completely destroyed in the 'tidal
wave' of debris from the collapse, the other badly
damaged. Amazingly, we were able to speak to them, on
and off, on the telephone throughout the whole thing.
They were, as you can imagine, very shaken up. They
were mostly OK physically, suffered from smoke
inhalation. They made it to the Staten Island Ferry on
foot, the only way off of Manhattan [Tuesday]. My
brother reports seeing 'terrible' things on the
streets in terms of damage to people."
"Bicycled down near city hall," veteran New York City
gay activist Bill Dobbs said Tuesday. "Lots of face
masks, improvised and otherwise. Real dust storm in
some spots. Little traffic except emergency vehicles.
Dust/silt all over the streets there, places several
inches deep. ... Mood is incredulous, emotional but
calm. ... Trade Towers are a part of my daily life,
seeing them and the Empire State Building is
quintessence of Manhattan for me. Now giant clouds of
gray black smoke obscure where they would be. Can't
imagine what [it was] like when structures collapsed."
"My boyfriend Gary was in his new office just off Wall
Street ... when the first plane hit," said veteran ACT
UP/New York and AIDS-treatment activist Peter Staley.
"He called me at 8:50, asking me if anything was on
the news, since he had heard a boom, and office paper
was blowing past his window. I watched the second
plane hit live on CNN. Gary was able to catch a
[number] 2/3 subway train home before the buildings
"My business partner, Gayzette publisher Frank
Williams, had just come up from the subway two blocks
from the WTC, smelled smoke and headed toward the
crowd gathered at the end of the block when the first
building began to collapse," said Carol Fezuk, editor
of the Rehoboth Beach [Delaware] Gayzette. "He said
there was bedlam and chaos as people ran over and atop
each other in an attempt to find shelter. He crawled
over bodies and others grabbed him to get ahead of the
cloud of dust and debris that enveloped the streets of
the city. He's seems OK ... has some chest pain and
congestion from the dust."
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the
American Foundation for AIDS Research are located near
the lower Manhattan disaster area, but apparently no
one from the organizations was injured.
"Apart from choking our way through clouds of dust and
soot, those of us at Lambda Legal Defense made it out
fine and walked ourselves home," said staff attorney
Jennifer Middleton. "We are in the same building as
AmFAR, and though the building was not in harm's way,
all of us inside exited to unbelievable debris amid
throngs of evacuees making their way north."
Playwright, author and ACT UP cofounder Larry Kramer
woke up in his Greenwich Village apartment shortly
after the attacks.
"The World Trade Center was a towering smoke stack
billowing unbelievable amounts of huge white clouds,"
Kramer said. "I turned on my TV set and for the next
hour I rushed from the window to the TV and back to
compare. The reality was almost too much to bear
looking at. I lay down on my bed and I started to feel
peculiar. I don't know how to describe the feeling
exactly. I felt my life, and everyone's life, and this
country, had lost control. God knows I've been through
hell with my health this past couple of years but this
was different. I guess if I had studied Sartre he
would have told me it was existential. My existence
was no longer my existence. I called the few friends I
know who work in the World Trade Center and discovered
they were all safe. Then, for whatever reason, I
decided to try and go through my planned day. My
dentist told me to come in (I want to finish some
messy work before my new liver arrives) ... so I went
outside and tried to figure how to get myself to
(first stop) 61st and Park."
Among the gay people known dead is New York Fire
Department Catholic chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge.
"He was a decent wonderful human being," said
journalist Humm. "When gays were kept out of the St.
Patrick's Parade, he gave me an interview on
the street telling me how terrible it was for us to be
discriminated against and for the church to be doing
it. I saw him at many demonstrations for gay
and AIDS causes, showing up in his Franciscan monk's
cassock. And he was equally beloved by the Fire
Department, there at every major fire tragedy in the
city lending moral support to firefighters."
San Francisco gay rugby player Mark Bingham died in
the Pennsylvania crash. Bingham, 31, had been planning
to field a team in next year's Gay Games in Sydney.
A gay male couple from Los Angeles, Ronald Gamboa and
Dan Brandhorst, and their 3-year-old adopted son,
David, died on one of the planes that slammed into the
World Trade Center, Kentucky's WAVE-TV reported.
Gamboa's mother lives in Kentucky.
The co-pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which
crashed into the Pentagon, was openly gay, the
Washington Blade reported. David Charlebois lived in
Washington, D.C., and was a member of the National Gay
David Angell, 54, of Pasadena, Calif., executive
producer of the NBC TV show Frasier, died in one of
the plane crashes. Angell, who was straight, was
involved in the gay protests against Dr. Laura
Schlessinger and wrote the episode of Cheers in which
Sam's old buddy comes out to him and the gang fears
Cheers is going to become a gay bar.
In Washington, D.C., where the Pentagon crash killed
an estimated 200 people, activist John Aravosis said:
"Those of us in Washington ... are under a state of
emergency and spent most of the morning [Tuesday]
looking out our windows expecting 11 reportedly errant
planes to take out the Congress, the White House and the
Washington Monument. You can see all from my balcony."
"Literally every 10 minutes I was looking out my
window, expecting the Capitol building to go up in
flames," Aravosis said. "A friend in a senator's
office got a call at 10 a.m. that a jet was heading
right for the Congress, and they evacuated the
building, fast. The only thing you could hear outside
all day was sirens and F-16s flying overhead
protecting the city's airspace, which I suppose should
have been comforting, but it was more creepy, in a
Beirut kind of way, than soothing."
"This morning, it is odd to see Humvees and military
police on the street corners in Georgetown," D.C.
activist Joel Lawson said Wednesday. "Out my office
window, military and civilian police constantly patrol
the Potomac River, paying particular attention to the
security of structures along the water here such as
the Kennedy Center and the massive Key Bridge. ...
Living in Washington, D.C., for a long time, what
haunts you most is the realization that so many
security gaps have existed for so long. Security will
finally change here. ... 'Business as usual' is a
To commemorate this anniversary we present items from the OutUK Outback Archive which reflect the events of 9/11 and its aftermath.
The Personal Story of Flight 93 Hero Mark Bingham
More on The Anniversary of September 11th 2001
OutUK sponsors the The Bingham Cup
Results and pictures from the 2004 Bingham Cup
Attack on America - The story of 9/11
The book that tells of the heroism and sacrifice of Mark Bingham