Born in the small town of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, coming out was a frightening task for Tanner Liechty. He started coming out to his close friends and family his freshman year of high school and gradually branched out, telling more friends and family members as his high school years went on. Despite facing harsh criticisms from many of his peers, Tanner focused on excelling in a broad range of activities. He became captain of his high school football team, dance captain of a show choir, and always made sure to give back to his community through service and leadership. After graduation, Tanner spent a gap year abroad with Rotary International in Brazil. Much of his time in Brazil was spent in orphanages and learning Portuguese at a local high school. The experience of spending a year away from home with a new adopted family broadened his perspective of the world forever, and he returned to Iowa realizing how diverse the human experience can be.
Tanner now studies at Johns Hopkins University, where he has become a member of the on campus LGBTQIA club and has started taking an activist role on campus. At John Hopkins he is studying chemical and biomolecular engineering and Spanish. Tanner plans on becoming a corporate liaison for chemical companies, and he hopes to create a network of LGBTQIA engineers to both further equality in the workplace and encourage queer youth to consider a career in engineering.