Daniel Hernandez Jr. — LGBT History Month Day 15


Today’s LGBT History Month icon is Daniel Hernandez Jr., the  University of Arizona student and congressional intern who came to national attention when he saved the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Hernandez was later honored for his heroism by President Obama.

Biography via Equality Forum:

Raised in Tucson, Arizona, Hernandez has two younger sisters. His mother is a Mexican immigrant and his father is a first-generation Latin American. Hernandez became politically energized in response to Arizona’s immigration policies and worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Thereafter, he began his studies in political science at the University of Arizona. While attending college, Hernandez served as a campaign manager for State Representative Steve Farley, the minority leader in the Arizona State House.

Hernandez is an openly gay member of Tuscon’s City Commission on GLBT Issues. He worked with the Arizona Students’ Association to lobby the state legislature for students to be excused on Election Day to vote.

Hernandez met Congresswoman Giffords while working on her 2008 election campaign. He began as her congressional intern shortly before Giffords and 18 other people were shot in January 2011.

Hernandez is credited with saving the congresswoman’s life. He stepped into harm’s way and used his emergency medical training to keep Giffords alive until the paramedics arrived. In his words, “It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots, but people needed help.” His actions resulted in President Obama and others calling him a national hero. He rejects the honor in the belief that any good person would have done exactly the same.

Hernandez spoke to a crowd of more than 27,000 people and 500 media outlets at “Tucson: Together We Thrive,” the memorial event for the shooting victims. At the event, President Obama acknowledged Hernandez and invited him as the guest of the president and first lady to the 2011 State of the Union.

Equality Forum presented Hernandez with the 2011 National Hero Award. He resides in Tucson and plans to devote his career to public service.

Below you can see a video of Hernandez speaking at the Tuscon memorial event:


  • Albert, Sarah. “University of Arizona Student Becomes National Hero.” La Voz Latina. 8 June 2011.
  • Blazucki, Sarah. “A reluctant hero accepts award in Philly.” PGN. 8 June 2011.
  • “Daniel Hernandez Jr. Bio | Daniel Hernandez Jr.” Daniel Hernandez Jr. Official Site. 8 June 2011.
  • Memmott, Mark. “Arizona Hero Daniel Hernandez: I ‘Shut Off My Emotions To Get Stuff Done’.” NPR. 8 June 2011.
  • Steinmetz, Katy. “Intern Daniel Hernandez: Modest Hero Helped Save Giffords.” TIME. 8 June 2011.


Image taken from the LGBT History Month video, no infringement intended.


Annmari Lundin
Annmari L6 years ago

This man is a hero and a role model for LGBTs of any age. Why do all you folks that obviously despise LGBT keep reading these stories? It's called LGBT History Month. That should ring a bell for you not to read these stories. Get a life, the lot of you mockers!

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Dan(iel) M.
Dan(iel) M6 years ago

The fact that he is GAY, So What !!!!!

The fact that he helped save Congresswoman Giffords life, All the KUDO's to him for that.

His being Gay is just one facet of who he is. Obviously he he is proud of this along with his other accomplishments.

Thanks for posting this article on him and the others honored in this serirs all month long.

David Johnson
David Johnson6 years ago

It is important to note and state that Daviid Hernandez is Gay because he presents a FACE to those who cannot believe that LGBT persons are more than just "perverts" and worth only reviling! AS my nephew so proudly states We're here. We're Queer. Get Used To it!

Susan Cowley
Susan Cowley6 years ago

As far as am concerned, this article is about a man who, with courage and knowledge, saved another person's life. End of story. Why mention that he was gay...or visiting from Timbuktu, or whether he was color-blind, or loved pizza, or holds the record in traffic tickets, or any number of other ridiculously irrelevant characteristics? The laudable fact is that he successfully did what he did. I'm sure that the congresswoman will remember him as the "resourceful young man who knew how to save my life"...and not as "the gay man who saved my life." Let's keep things in prospective with regards to the article...and keep remarks about whether gay=sin or not, or gay is a choice or not for an appropriate forum.

sandra m.
Past Member 6 years ago

A person's sexual orientation should not be made a point where it doesn't belong.
I don't go around saying I'm a married heterosexual woman when looking for a job--neither do I ask where the restroom is for heterosexual women!
Sexual orientation is not a special need or skill......it's personal and should stay that way.
I don't need to know one's sexual preferance ,why would I need to know who they're having sex with?....Tell me,..Does it have any bearing at all?

Wayne M.
Wayne M6 years ago

To Susan C.: You use the term "lifestyle choice". If you pay attention to independent and unbiased scientific and psychological information, you should know that a person's sexual orientation is neither a choice nor a lifestyle.

As for why people should know he is Gay: Well, why should people know that Abraham Lincoln was Christian? The answer is that people need to overcome certain biases and misconceptions about LGBT people, just as I hope people have overcome the idea that slavery was justified by some Christians who misused the Bible in that day. The fact is that America is great because of contributions by people of all religions, races and sexual orientations/gender identities – including being LGBT.


Maryanne E.
Maryanne E6 years ago

The Bible only mentions homosexuality is a sin in the Old Testament, along with numerous other laws that no one follows anymore, for very good reason.
The Old Testament also condones the sale of your daughter, that women should be isolated during their monthlies (no one wants to get 'girl cooties' I imagine) along with various reasons to kill people: blasphemy, wearing clothing of two different sources, etc.

I prefer to take the words from the New Testament: 'Judge not, lest ye be judged' along with 'tend to the beam in thy own eye, before tending to the mote in thy neighbor's'.

I never knew that Daniel Hernandez Jr was gay. To my way of thinking, that really doesn't matter. He stepped up and acted courageously in a dangerous situation. That is an admirable quality for anyone to emulate, regardless of their sexuality.

Susan Cowley
Susan Cowley6 years ago

This young man did, indeed, act admirably. But why is it paramount to state that he was Gay? I personally do not agree with the gay lifestyle, but in this particular forum why is it necessary to describe his deed in this manner? His sexual orientation has about as much relevance in this circumstance as his ethnicity, or whether or not he wore glasses, or whether he was right- or left-handed. I find this to be a huge fault of the insecure GLBT group: to tout the fact that some accomplishment or other was done by a Gay Person! Who gives a rat's patootie? Daniel Hernandez' lifestyle choice has no bearing on his ability to perform the saving of a life! Kudos to him as a PERSON for his knowledge and courage.

clara H.
Clara Hamill6 years ago

Good person no matter what his sexuality. Some of you religous fanatics make me ashamed to be a christian.