Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 911

COP 24/7 Special

How To Cope With the Events of 9/11

Gay Victims of 9/11

By , About.com Guide
The mere mention of the date September 11 conjures up feelings of grief, sorrow and pain for the family, friends and strangers who loss their lives at the hands of terrorists. At that very moment a young nation was united as one. There were no classifications or judgements only sympathy for all. And as we approach the anniversary of this tragic event, many look in retrospect as to how this affected their community. The gay community is no exception.

Many gay men and women lost their lives or loved ones during the morning of the 11th. How many? If we consider those not yet out, it is difficult to calculate, but at that moment it didn't matter. What mattered, if only for a moment, is that the nation experienced togetherness and unity. All people, including gays, felt the embrace of the entire country and many around the world. Mark Bingham is just one of many gay people deemed a hero for his efforts to liberate and protect an airplane filled with people of diverse backgrounds. His focus, like others such as Father Mychal Judge, was one of protection of human life. They didn't seek to help and protect only gays. They risked their lives for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, because a human life is one to cherish and death does not discriminate.

These events marked a special moment in history. It was a time where differences did not matter and all of our causes seemed simplistic as we watched thousands of lives be taken for granted. But why in such a time of unity do we retreat back to our own communities to reflect? It's because we find comfort and support in familiar places. Gays around the world will mourn on September 11th of each year not just for the gay men and women who lost their lives, but for all. It's a time to reflect on loved ones and cherish the lives and relationships we have before us.

Here are a few suggestions on how to support each other on the anniversary of September 11th:

Spend time with your friends or loved ones.

When experiencing loss or grief, it's good to be in the company of those closest to you. Invite your friends over for dinner, to watch a movie or just to talk. Friends can be a great support system and they will more than likely be experiencing many of the same emotions you're experiencing. Many gays are also prone to depression. So, situations like these may be extremely difficult. Surround yourself with a positive and supportive environment.

Don't be afraid to express your emotions.

Remember, different people express their emotions in different ways. So don't worry if your friend who lost his partner in the tragedy wants to go out dancing at the club. That may be his way of dealing with his loss. The best thing to do is to be there for him and tell him how much you care. This is also a special time to tell all those close to you how you feel. Time and life are precious. If you feel you don't have anyone to express your feelings and emotions to, then post your thoughts in a Gay Life Discussion Forum. It's healthy to release your emotions and may help other gay people in the same situation.

Show sensitivity.

During this time there will be an array of emotions from your friends, loved ones and even strangers. If someone's behavior seems hostile, sad or unusual try to be patient and understand that they are dealing with loss. Some people may also seem distant because they feel uncomfortable expressing their thoughts. Not all gay men feel comfortable openly discussing their relationships in in mostly heterosexual environments. Be sensitive and lend an ear.

Lend a helping hand.

It may help you cope by giving back to other gay people in need. Visit someone suffering from HIV or AIDS or volunteer at your local community center for other volunteer opportunities. There are many gay people that would welcome a smile and helping hand from a friend or even a stranger.

Reflect on what it means to be part of a community.

The gay community is vast and diverse and can often be overwhelming, especially when coming out. Take a moment to reflect on what it's like to belong to a community. This is a time to celebrate life as individuals and as a whole.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

There are many gay-affirmative therapists that can help you cope with tragedy or loss. Don't be afraid to talk to a professional.
Ramon Sahib Johnson is the founder of Brickfive.com, a website dedicated to men's culture and wellness. With over ten years experience in digital journalism and new media field, Ramon has dedicated his career to advance the equal representation of disadvantaged and underrepresented peoples. Ramon is currently an integrated PhD student at the University of Essex in Colchester, England where he studies masculinity, myth and emotions.


In 2008, Ramon was named 'GLBT Person of the Year' by GayAgenda and in 2009, Gay Life at About.com was selected as 'Best Gay Lifestyle Blog' by BestGayBlogs.com. Ramon was regular speaker at youth diversity organization Live Out Loud Reciprocity Foundation, and a youth mentor at The Ali Forney Center, an LGBT homeless youth service organization. He was named one of Clik Magazine's 25 Most Influential Gay African-Americans in media for his contributions to the LGBT community and has been a guest gay lifestyle expert on Proper Television's "TV Made Me Do It," Q Television's "On Q Live," "The Derek and Romaine Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio and New York's Power 105 morning radio show.

No comments: