Seth Owen graduated from high school as captain of the swim team, National Honor Society member, co-valedictorian, and already in possession of almost all the credits, he would have needed for an associate's college degree. He sounds as though he's among the best the rising generation has to offer.
But none of that mattered when his conservative, religious parents discovered evidence on his phone that he was gay during the young man's sophomore year. NBC News reported on Seth this summer, noting how his parents inflicted so-called "conversion therapy" on him in a fruitless bid to "turn" him straight. When, in his senior year, Seth protested the rhetoric that the church pastor was spouting from the pulpit, his parents gave him a choice: Attend their church, or get out of their house.
Seth's choice was to leave, which may have been the mentally and emotionally healthful thing to do, but which also left him homeless and resulted in the loss of the financial aid he'd lined up for college.
But that didn't stop Seth, whose supporters included a teacher who created a GoFundMe campaign on his behalf, raising more than $140,000 toward his tuition at Georgetown University. Seth has said that he intends to use any money remaining from the fund to establish a scholarship for LGBTQ students who find themselves in a plight similar to his own.
Now out comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has stepped in, bringing Seth on her show and contributing more money to his goals through the Ellen & Cheerios "One Million Acts of Good" campaign.
Watch Seth tell his moving story to Ellen - including the huge-hearted sentiment that the people who treated him this way are "still my parents" - and see Ellen's surprise for the courageous young man in the video below.