People raised thousands to send this homeless gay teen to college after his parents kicked him out
A gay teenager hopes to fulfil his dream of going to college – even though he was rejected by his parents and made homeless.
18-year-old Seth Owen of Jacksonville, Florida was made homeless after his parents, who are evangelical Christians, discovered that he is gay by snooping on his phone messages.
His parents ordered him to attend gay ‘cure’ sessions at a local church, and gave him an ultimatum, telling him to either do so or leave home.
The teen chose to remain true to himself, and became homeless.
He explained to local news outlet News4Jax: “They made it clear the intention was to make me straight. [That] was their end goal. Either go to church or you can move out.
“I called a mentor. I said, I can’t do this. I went back in and asked, ‘Is there any way that we can compromise,’ and my dad said no.
“I was really, really upset. It was extremely hurtful to know that I was walking out that door not knowing what lay ahead and feeling I don’t know how to explain it it was devastating, absolutely devastating.”
Luckily Seth was able to stay with friends, and could make ends meet by working full-time alongside his education.
Thanks to his own drive and the help of the community around him, the bright student held down an impressive 4.16 grade point average at school, and became his class’s co-valedictorian.
The teen secured a place at Georgetown University, but his scholarship only covered part of the cost – putting his dream at risk as he had no way to fund the rest of his tuition.
But a crowdfunder launched by one of his high school teachers has succeeded in raising more than $26,000 to cover his first year at college.
Jane Martin, a teacher at First Coast High School, said: “I taught Seth biology and mentored him throughout his high school years. He was the ring bearer in my wedding.
“Last month, I watched him walk across the [graduation] stage in a Jacksonville arena weighted down by more cords and medals to count. I’m writing this community for help.”
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She added: “He’s been living with friends and working to sustain himself since financially. His parents have refused to support him emotionally or financially because they deem his sexual orientation inconsistent with their religious beliefs.
“Throughout this all, Seth held his head high and continued to work almost full-time while finishing high school at the top of his class as the co-valedictorian
“I know the goal seems unrealistic and the circumstances aren’t ideal, but i also know communities can make the impossible possible.
“It’s Pride Month and rainbows abound around the world. Help me bring a rainbow in the midst of Seth’s storm.”
An emotional Seth, who plans to become a lawyer, added: “I don’t think thank you is good enough. Of course I am extremely grateful, but I think thank you doesn’t say it. Now it’s time to pay it forward.”