Seth Owen isn't even old enough to legally drink, but he's already been through a lot in his young life. He was his high school's valedictorian, survived conversion therapy, and was disowned by his parents before his inspiring story of resilience went viral, raising over $140,000 to attend Georgetown University.
In a new interview with HeartThreads, a site that shares the "best stories about the best of us," Owen talks about paying his experiences -- and the money he raised -- forward in order to help other LGBTQ+ youth in similar situations.
"I didn't have a home, and at that time I didn't have a school and I didn't have a future," Owen told the inspirational news page. "Education was my only way out." We stan a nerdy legend!
After raising the money, Georgetown offered him a full scholarship. Because he knows how important a good education can be -- and because he now had money he didn't need -- Owen wanted to make sure others had the same chance to shine that he was given. That's why he started Unbroken Horizons, a non-profit that helps LGBTQ+ youth attend college.
"We had the idea to start the scholarship foundation once the GoFundMe went viral and once we exceeded our goal of $20,000," Owen said.
Now that foundation is a reality, and this summer it helped out a group of queer and transgender teens kicked out of their homes, awarding five LGBTQ+ youth with $2,500 scholarships to help them attend college.
"I'm not the only kid going through these struggles," Owen said. "There are so many other kids, and it's my responsibility to stand up and fight for them."
Owen also wants to make sure that LGBTQ+ youth know how valued they are. "I would tell [other youth in my situation] to roll their shoulders back, put their chin up, know that they are a fierce queen and they deserve to be loved," Owen said, revealing that he is the fiercest queen of them all.
We could all learn a lesson in shining a light on others -- and how to pick out a killer lip color -- from Mr. Owen.