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Gay Valedictorian Kicked Out of Home Gets Help from Ellen DeGeneres

Gay Valedictorian Kicked Out of Home Gets Help from Ellen DeGeneres

A GoFundMe page set up for Seth Owen raised $141,000 to help with his Georgetown tuition. Now, DeGeneres has another surprise for him.

TracyEGilchrist

This summer, the internet rallied for Seth Owen, a gay co-valedictorian of his high school headed to Georgetown University from Jacksonville, Fla. whose parents kicked him out of his home for being gay.

Not only was the teen couch-surfing for months during his senior year, but his financial aid package from the prestigious school fell about $20,000 short of what he needed to cover expenses. When his high school biology teacher set up a GoFundMe page to cover the gap, the money rolled in and Owen made a total of $141,000 from people who were moved by his story. Now, Ellen DeGeneres has another surprise for the Georgetown student.

Just two weeks into his semester at college, Owen appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’s show to tell the story of how after his father rifled through his phone and discovered a picture of him with his boyfriend, he was sent off to a conversion therapy program.

"The dangerous part about that is that, as a patient, I believed this healthcare professional was doing what was best for me,” Owen told DeGeneres. “I didn’t see any progress, so it’s very depressing.”

Owen also relayed that after conversion therapy, his parents began attending a new church run by a pastor whose views went against Owen's beliefs.

When his parents gave him an ultimatum to go to church with them or move out, Owen left. They also refused to pay his tuition for college. After months of crashing on various friends’ couches, the teen ended up staying with his best friend’s family.

Owen, who said he is thriving at Georgetown with support from the faculty and staff, explained that after he graduates, he plans to take the leftover money from the GoFundMe page and set up a scholarship for kids who endured similar situations. DeGeneres, of course, gave him a little something to start the process.

Watch the video below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.