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Gay Valedictorian Kicked Out by Parents, Now Going to Georgetown Thanks to GoFundMe

Seth Owen has gone through a lot.

Hailey Nagma

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After being rejected by his parents due to his sexuality, openly gay 18-year-old Seth Owen was left with a 4.16 GPA, an acceptance to Georgetown University, and the realization that he couldn’t afford to go to college on his own.

Having found out about Owen’s sexuality during his sophomore year of high school, Owen’s parents responded by sending him to a Christian counselor, attempting “conversion therapy.”

The American Psychological Association states that the term refers to “counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality.” The views on homosexuality that these “therapies” are based on are now rejected by all major mental health professions.

According to the description on GoFundMe, after a year, Owen opted to stop enduring the “treatment,” leading to his parents giving him an ultimatum: attend their church or move out. For the sake of his safety and well-being, Owen chose to leave his parents, get a job of his own and began to live with friends.

Owen had received a financial aid package from the university, but the package was based off of parental financial support. He was left with a tuition bill of $20,000 for his first year of education, NBC News reported. 

Enter: Jane Martin, Owen’s former biology teacher. After hearing of Owen’s situation, Martin started a GoFundMe page to raise the money required for Owen to attend Georgetown in the fall.

What began as a local fundraiser with a goal of $20,000 on June 18 has grown to a national effort to support a young member of the LGBTQ community. As of today, the campaign has raised $119,470 in donations from strangers across the country.

Martin has taken to GIFs on Twitter to express her excitement for Owen and spread a message to kids just like him:

 

As the good news of the campaign spreads across the Internet, Owen hopes that his story will encourage others to speak up about the hardships they are facing.

“It’s difficult to be who you genuinely are when you have all this pressure around you from all these different people in your life,” Owen told NBC. “But if you become comfortable with who you are, you’re that much more equipped to face these difficult times.”

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Hailey Nagma is a sophomore journalism major at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is passionate about writing, music, movies, and The Bachelor. She hopes to one day travel as a freelance reporter and witness all of the amazing things the world has to offer.

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