After a gay teen escaped a toxic home, he decided to give back to the LGBTQ community by creating a scholarship.
Seth Owen grew up in a devoutly religious home in Jacksonville, Florida. Seth told NBC 12 News, “It was a very tense place growing up at home.”
Things became even more stressful when his father discovered a photo of Seth and his boyfriend at the time and learned that he was gay.
Seth’s parents couldn’t accept his identity, and so they enrolled him in “conversion therapy,” a now-debunked process that attempts to change a person’s sexuality. Conversion therapy has been denounced by the American Psychiatric Association and cited to cause depression and anxiety.
In Seth’s experience, they tried to make him more masculine but it didn’t change him.
Finally, Seth’s conflicts at home led to his parents to issue an ultimatum: Either attend church with his family or leave.
Seth chose to move out and stay with various friends. Free of his parents, things were beginning to look up for Seth. He was even accepted to Georgetown University. However, Seth’s financial aid package was calculated based on his parents’ income and with his parents no longer supporting him, Seth could no longer afford to go to college.
That’s when one of Seth’s teachers, Jane Martin, stepped in to set up a GoFundMe page for Seth. She raised over $100,ooo to help Seth attend college.
“A queer kid in Jacksonville, I didn’t receive a lot of support for myself and my identities,” Seth said. “But for someone to say not only, ‘I support you Seth and your journey to college’ but ‘I support you financially, that was a totally different thing. And it made me believe in myself.”
Now that Seth is in school, he’s finding ways to give back to other LGBTQ youth who might be in similar situations to his.
He started a scholarship fund called Unbroken Horizons to help LGBTQ teens afford college and other career training. “I’m not the only kid going through these struggles and it’s my responsibility to stand up and fight for them as well,” Seth said.
So far, Seth has raised tens of thousands of dollars for other teens, and the first scholarships were awarded this year.