Future Gay Hero: Ryan Olson

“The hardest thing about being in a [conservative Catholic university] isn’t the folks who are obviously bigoted and mean-spirited—it’s the false security. It’s only through my ability to love and forgive that I have been able to come out of this den of wolves alive.”



Age: 22

Home: Spokane, Wash.

School: Gonzaga University

Leadership roles: President of HERO (Helping Educate
Regarding Orientation), a gay-straight alliance;
Gonzaga Student Body Association senator

Accomplishments: Raised funds to bring Judy Shepard
to speak at Gonzaga; gathered 450 signatures at
Gonzaga for a “Million for Marriage”
petition; organized the first LGBT dance at Gonzaga; subject
of an mtvU program about activists trying to overturn
Washington State’s Defense of Marriage Act

Hobbies: Soccer, racquetball, basketball, reading
Shakespeare, making and watching films, road trips,
educating others on social justice issues

Tags: Commentary