A 19-year-old college student is crowdsourcing her tuition after her religious parents stopped supporting her when they learned she is pansexual and dating a transgender man.
Kate Koenig says her parents cut her off from all financial support one week before her first semester at the University of Pittsburgh, after they discovered her blog, which detailed her sexuality and her current relationship.
"As a result of that, they decided to cut me off," Koenig explained to HuffPost Live. "I was shaking, I was on public transportation and I started sobbing. My first thought was, 'How am I going to pay for second semester?'"
Koenig's sudden lack of familial support prompted her to start a Go Fund Me page to help raise tuition funds for the rest of her semester at the University of Pittsburgh. “Going to Pitt is a dream of mine and I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to stay there,” Koenig wrote on the page.
Until she is able to raise the funds for her schooling, she’s enrolled at a community college. “Due to my inability to cover an entire year of tuition, I have decided to spend the fall semester at a community college in the area I am currently living,” she wrote. She's been living at the home of her boyfriend and his family, who she emotionally describes as accepting and "wonderful."
Koenig has already raised more than $11,000 out of her $15,000 goal. In her latest update, Koenig said she was contacted by Pitt’s financial aid department regarding possible emancipation and will be getting guidance on this later this week.
Emancipation may be Koenig's best option, as her religious parents have kicked her out, cut her off, and refuse to cosign any loan she seeks, according to her Go Fund Me page.
"They're praying, literally praying, that I turn off my sexuality and come back to the faith, come back to the church and ... come back to them," Koenig told HuffPost Live.
But that hasn’t shaken Koenig’s personal faith.
“I don't believe being gay disqualifies me from also believing in Jesus and having a religion,” she told HuffPost's Marc Lamont Hill. "My parents think that my sexuality is a great offense to God and religion, and as they say, they can't in good faith support me while I'm living this 'lifestyle.'"
Koening is studying English and history, minoring in German, and has hopes of becoming a novelist.
Meet Koenig on HuffPost Live below: