Scholar Class – 2011
Born in south-eastern Idaho, Ethan Hansen grew up in a conservative area where homophobia was a mostly unchallenged fact of life. The strong influence of the LDS (Mormon) Church in his home and community soon promised conflict—first inner, as he came to terms with his sexuality, and then outer, as he struggled to find support. Soon, he found a measure of this support in his school's new GSA, which he joined against the advice of religious leaders. Gradually, Ethan came out during high school and sought to give back to those who had helped him by serving as the Vice President of the GSA, helping organize such events as Harvey Milk Day and Day of Silence, despite strong opposition from homophobic students, parents and other members of the community. He additionally participated in student government, maintained high academics and led the school's National Honor Society chapter. He also served in the community and was involved politically in order to advance his hope for human equality. As a senior in high school he helped strengthen the school's environmental effort as a member of its Green Team and founded an Amnesty International group to raise awareness of human rights violations occurring around the world.
Ethan hopes to eventually become a therapist and aims to help LGBTQ youth. He also hopes to continue fighting for LGBTQ and other marginalized people as an activist dedicated to the ideals of equality and human dignity.