Point Scholar 2011 – 2012
At 19 years old, Chris Hanson left his conservative and religious Central Florida town to attend Yale University. During his first few months at Yale, he was exposed to a variety of political, social and religious viewpoints so different than his own upbringing. At the end of his freshman year of college, he came out to his parents, who he always counted as his best friends. At first, his family emotionally and spiritually struggled to come to terms with this revelation. Over the next several years, Chris interacted with individuals from both the heterosexual and LGBT communities that did not understand his sexuality and its relation to his continued faith. Finding himself in this unique borderland, he found comfort and confidence in trying to bring together different or even opposing, discursive communities in the realms of religion and politics.
After college, Chris attended Harvard Divinity School, where he studied Christian LGBT ministry and explored the role of religious rhetoric in gay and lesbian political rights debates. At Harvard, Chris worked for Democratic Senators Edward “Ted” Kennedy and Paul Kirk Jr. and Republican Senator Scott Brown on LGBT and military issues. Additionally, Chris served as an advisor to the Harvard LGBT undergraduate community.
Chris attended Northwestern School of Law, where he completed the typical three-year law degree in two years. He wrote his law thesis on same-sex rape reforms at the legislative and procedural levels within the United States. He hopes his thesis will bring awareness to the often overlooked and shunned issue of same-sex rape. Additionally, he assisted in LGBT cases pro-bono through his work at the British law firm, Linklaters, in New York City and London. Chris hopes to follow his interest in politics and has returned to his birth state of Wisconsin to work as a lawyer at Foley & Lardner in their Environmental Regulation division. He looks forward to becoming involved in state politics and uniting and engaging the different discursive communitites throughout the state.