Chris Hansen was in middle school in Cheyenne when a young gay man... Matthew Shepard was beaten and left for dead in Laramie. That moment shaped Hansen’s future.
“I just started crying, because I thought that the world was going to hate me. And being in high school, knowing that Laramie County Community College was going to be the college that I was going to have to go to, so uh, it hurt. Knowing that who we were as people, as
LGBT, that we were misunderstood,” says Hansen.
“I had a fear of how people would feel about him when they found out that he was gay and how he would be treated,” says Bill Hansen, Chris’s father.
18 years later, he found himself in a nightclub in Orlando. It was another moment that would change his life's course.
“We felt like rats in a cage. There was no escape, you know, once you make it out, it's like, you're hearing all these gunfires just not knowing what's going to happen. So, if you do what you can to help others then maybe you won't get caught in the crossfire? But if you do, you tried,” says Chris.
Hansen saved two lives that night, people he now calls friends.
“I never thought I could do anything like that. I'm squeamish of blood. Even my own bloody noses.”
Many call Hansen a hero, humbly, he says it was second-nature. It was his father's military background helping to save Hansen’s life.
“I was really happy he used something that was taught to him that came to him at the moment. A lot of people froze,” says his father.
But, Hansen still has questions about that night.
“I don't know how you can have bullets going off and hitting people outside and inside. It doesn't make sense at this time. To know what you know, to know what you've seen and to still be told it's not possible. But it is. And to not be the only one to say it, it's even more baffling.”
We asked if he was referencing multiple shooters. Chris simply said, yeah.
Now, Hansen has a message for the country.
“We're not numbers, we're people and everybody should love each other and not hate a certain group and chose to heal with love and not speak of hate. God made all of us in his view and in his image and people kill people.”
It's a message he hopes to continue sharing for years to come.
Hansen will soon be featured in Out Magazine for his heroic actions. He hopes to continue spreading his message and says we all need to come together as a united country, not divided.