Reflections by Joan M. Garry
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD )
Like many of you, I spent much of Sept. 11 glued to one of several television sets ...first in my office and then, after our evacuation, in my den with my family. It was a day of horrifying images. Any sense of security evaporated and was replaced by fear of what could happen next. Amid the chaos in New York, my identity as a lesbian for a moment seemed unimportant. What mattered was my family and my country's safety.
The attacks and their aftermath left most of us with a profound sense of solidarity...a unity reflected in, and nurtured by, the media. Around-the-clock newscasts erased our differences and brought us together with universal, homogenized reports that seemed calculated to give us comfort and catharsis.
The picture looks different now. Many of us have settled back into familiar, if wary, routines. We've returned to work, to school, to dinner out with friends, to the movies, to television. And, in their coverage of our nation's mourning, media have returned to the routine of marginalizing gay identity.
In the days immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, other matters seemed trivial and inconsequential. We wanted to identify as Americans, feeling an unprecedented...at least in many of our lifetimes...sense of community. Against the backdrop of a terrible tragedy, many of us recognized glimmers of the kind of society we yearned for: one where we are connected and part of a common, united equality.
Joan Garry. Photo by Rex Wockner