Kicked Out of His Home, Gay Valedictorian Lands Congressional Internship

Seth Owen used Ellen DeGeneres' donation to help other LGBTQ students in need.

Seth Owen is doing just fine, thanks.

Co-valedictorian of his high school class in Jacksonville, Florida, the gay teen was thrown out of his home last year because his parents couldn’t reconcile his sexuality with their own religious beliefs.

Now prospering at Georgetown University, Owen recently scored an internship at Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (D-Fla.) office, The Hill reports.

The congresswoman contacted Georgetown to offer Owen her support and the internship after hearing about his story. He began interning in January and will work with the office through the rest of his spring semester.

“I am proud that Seth chose to be a part of our team,” says Murphy in a statement. “He will always be welcomed here, and I’m am happy to see him thrive. Our entire office is rooting for his continued success.” 

Following a successful crowdfunding effort to help pay for his college tuition, Georgetown University ultimately adjusted his financial aid to offer him a full scholarship.

Owen tells the Orlando Sentinel he also used a $25,000 donation from Ellen DeGeneres to launch his Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships designed to help “students in marginalized communities access post-secondary education.” 

Seth Owen/GoFundMe

After discovering he was gay during his sophomore year, Owen’s parents sent him to counseling for conversion therapy and demanded he regularly attend their anti-LGBTQ church.

When he finally refused to continue attending a church that openly disparaged his sexual orientation, Owen was forced to move out, only two-thirds of the way through his senior year. His parents now refuse to support him emotionally or financially.

Owen maintained a 4.16 GPA and became co-valedictorian of First Coast High School’s class of 2018 despite being homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches and working three jobs to support himself.

One of Owen’s former teachers created a GoFundMe page to help him pay for his first year of Georgetown, and its $20,000 goal was exceeded with more than $130,000 in donations that will cover Owen’s additional college expenses.

“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,” Owen wrote at the time. “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.”

Owen, who has said he plans to become a defense attorney for neglected teens, is currently requesting more donations to fund his scholarship foundation.
 

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