Disowned Gay Teen Exceeds GoFundMe Goal to go to Georgetown University

What an absolutely inspiring story for our community. 

Seth Owen, who shared his story about being disowned by his parents last month, has a lot to smile about now as the GoFundMe page that was started by one of his teachers has now exceeded its goal for him to go to Georgetown University in the fall.

In less than two months, the page has raised $129.178 (as of Friday afternoon) for him when the goal itself was only $20,000! Over 1,800 people from all 50 states & 20 countries have chipped in to help pay his tuition. So awesome.

Seth's story was shared on local Florida affiliate WJAX last week, where he spoke about how his parents disowned him for being gay earlier this year. This process originally began during his sophomore year when his father took his phone and discovered he was gay. 

His parents then gave him an ultimatum: submit to so-called “conversion therapy” counseling and attend their anti-LGBTQ church or leave the house. He put his foot down for as long as he could about that, which resulted in his parents kicking him out back in February. 

He was left to sleep on other friends couches and hold down jobs to support himself after that happened, all while maintaining a 4.6 GPA at his high school that made him a co-valedictorian by year's end. 

Seth's dreams of wanting to go to Georgetown University was thwarted prior to the GoFundMe page being set up. He was granted a $50,000 scholarship by the Ivy League university, but his parents were still responsible for the remaining $27,000 of the $77,000 annual tuition. 

Given that they weren't going to support him, his biology teacher stepped up to create the GoFundMe page, where she spoke very kindly about the student and person that he is. That resonated with thousands, and now they have raised enough money to cover tuition costs for years to come.

Seth released a statement today about all of this today:

Thank you. Thank you to all of my supporters in Jacksonville and across the globe who have given their time, talents, and financial support to help me make my dream of attending Georgetown University a reality.

Thank you to the staff and professionals at the Georgetown University Office of Student Financial Services. Over the past several months, the Office of Student Financial Services has worked to address the situation that I faced after I was forced to leave my home, in February. In mid-June of this year, the Office of Student Financial Affairs adjusted my aid package to take into account my circumstances; however, there was still a gap that would need to be filled by private loans. These loans were not a viable option for me, as my parents would not act as the necessary guarantors of the loans. At this point, I thought my dream of attending Georgetown University was over.

Hearing of this situation, my former teacher, Jane Martin, started a Go-Fund-Me campaign. To date, the goals of the campaign have been met many times over. While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality. Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.

The Office of Student Financial Services was instrumental in helping me enroll in the Georgetown Scholarship Program, whose purpose is to make attendance at Georgetown possible for students in a financial situation similar to my own. This program also includes mentoring and networking opportunities which will help me to assist others in situations similar to the one I found myself in earlier this year.

Georgetown is my dream school because of the limitless opportunities it provides to its students. In particular, my interest in the school was piqued by the prestigious program of study in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. I am honored to be selected to attend Georgetown University and am elated that I am now able to attend Georgetown because of the gracious donations to the GoFundMe campaign and the efforts of the Office of Student Financial Services.

Thank you to all who have donated to the campaign. Your generosity will help me succeed academically this year and in the years to come. At the moment, I am in process of exploring the establishment of a scholarship to help LGBTQ+ scholars who find themselves in the circumstance I was in earlier this year. I am looking forward to utilizing the resources of Georgetown to help with this effort.

Again, a simple "Thank You" seems to be not enough for all of the support I’ve received from so many. I will be seeking to pass on the kindness and generosity that I have been shown.

Best regards,

Seth Owen

If you would like to donate to Seth, please click here.