LGBTQ Heroes: Mark Bingham
His bravery saved lives and inspired the world of rugby.
Mark Bingham was one of the 44 people that was killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on 11 September 2001.
In honour of his memory, we take a look at his life and the legacy that keeps his spirit alive today.
- Mark Bingham was born on 22 May 1970.
- He was 31 at the time of his death.
Bingham grew up in Miami, Florida, before moving to San Jose in California. Bingham graduated from Los Gatos High School as a two-year captain of his rugby team in 1988. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, Bingham played on national-championship-winning rugby teams in the early 1990s. He also joined the Chi Psi fraternity, eventually becoming its president. Upon graduation at the age of twenty-one, Bingham came out as gay to his family and friends.
With his college rugby days behind him, in October 2000, Bingham helped to establish the San Francisco Fog — a gay rugby team. Bingham played №8 in their first two friendly matches.
With his public relations firm opening a satellite office in New York City, Bingham also played a key role in establishing the Gotham Knights — a gay rugby team for New York.
As the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were unfolding, Bingham was among the passengers who formed the plan to retake control of United Airlines Flight 93 from the hijackers who were on board.
Along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick, Bingham led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The actions of the passengers on board United Airlines Flight 93 thwarted the plans of the hijackers to crash the plane into the landmark buildings of Washington DC.
In 2002, the San Francisco Fog established The Bingham Cup to honour the memory of Mark Bingham. The Bingham Cup brings together gay rugby teams from around the world.
The Bingham Cup is a biennial tournament. In 2018, the tournament was held in Amsterdam. Sixty-four teams — 1,600 players — came together to compete for the title. Ultimately, it was the Sydney Convicts who were victorious.