Scholar Class – 2013
As a young teen growing up in Colorado, Ryan's parents sent him to a so-called conversion therapist in a desperate attempt to somehow “fix” him. This practice, combined with familial rejection, virtually destroyed his sense of place in the world. At 16, Ryan surrendered himself to the Colorado Department of Human Services and moved to have his parents’ custody revoked. What followed were dark years filled with depression, drug abuse, thoughts of suicide, and periods of homelessness. In 2010, Ryan told his story in the district trial of Hollingsworth v. Perry, to show to the world that sexual orientation is an immutable trait and to illustrate the fact LGBT people have been subjected to an ugly history of discrimination and abuse, often from their own families. Ryan studies political science at Columbia University. He continues his work to ensure that no child is subjected to the discredited and dangerous practice of conversion therapy and remains a fierce advocate for equality.