Gay teen Seth Owen went from homelessness to the House of Representatives.
In high school, Owen’s parents kicked him out because of their religious beliefs. Despite the antagonistic circumstances, he maintained a 4.61 GPA and was accepted by Georgetown University, but couldn’t afford the costs without support from his parents. So, one of his teachers started a GoFundMe that raised $141,000.
“Growing up in the area, the town that I did within Jacksonville, it’s a very conservative, very ultra-religious, restrictive Southern Baptist community,” Owen explained.
Representative Stephanie Murphy also offered him an internship when she heard his story. On the last day of his internship, the House held a vote on the Equality Act, which would establish nationwide civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people. Representative Murphy invited Seth to watch the proceedings from the House Floor.
“When the minority would stand up and say something against HR5, the Equality Act, I couldn’t help but hear my father’s hateful words,” Owen said. “And then someone from the majority would stand up, someone like Representative Murphy, and I would hear them say, ‘I see you and you are worthy of love and belonging,’ and I truly felt that.”
The Equality Act vote marked the first time in U.S. history that a chamber of Congress passed comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.