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Mark Bingham's Mother Shares Her Story

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By GLAAD |
December 1, 2008
Alice Hoagland

Alice Hoagland

Last week the San Jose Mercury News profiled Alice Hoagland, mother of gay athlete Mark Bingham, who was killed on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

As previously mentioned, Bingham is believed to have helped organize the storm on the plane's cockpit, preventing the terrorists from hitting another target. He was also an original member of the San Francisco Fog, one of the first gay rugby teams in the United States.

Since her son's death, Hoagland has become a strong advocate for the LGBT community. She recently spoke at a rally against Proposition 8 in downtown San Jose and regularly attends gay rugby tournaments.

"Those causes grew out of the wreckage of my life," Hoagland told the Mercury News. "I feel I owe it to Mark and I owe it to the world to fight hard for improving aviation security, and getting rid of terrorists, and helping radical Islam to realize it has moderate roots, which are much more about love than it is; and to advance the LGBT cause."

The article also details Bingham's experience coming out to his mother and her reaction.

"In that one sentence, he blew away all my preconceptions of what gay people were all about," Hoagland said. "I cried for a while, but I grew up."

Having personally met Alice, I can honestly say she carries with her the energy of a thousand people. She's vivacious, passionate and incredibly well spoken. To have her, a Mormon mother of a gay son, advocate for the LGBT community in the media is so crucial in changing the hearts and minds of Americans.

It's important for LGBT people and allies to be like Alice and share their stories in the media. A father might write an op-ed in support of his transgender son. An employee might submit a piece in the office newsletter thanking a coworker and her wife for organizing the annual holiday party.

If you need help getting started, GLAAD offers its Announcing Equality resource, complete with tips and tools for how to effectively change hearts and minds with your stories.

To find out more, check out: http://www.glaad.org/AnnouncingEquality/.

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