Kate Koenig is a 19-year-old student at the University of Pittsburgh. Kate self-identifies as pansexual, and her boyfriend is a transgender man.
Last fall, Kate’s parents found out by going through her mail that she was attracted to women and had been dating a transgender man, so they cut her off financially. Now, Kate is turning to the Internet to continue funding her college education: specifically, GoFundMe, where she’s started a campaign to help her stay at Pitt.
According to a YouTube video Kate posted last fall, Kate was about to start college at Pitt (where she says she currently has a 4.1 GPA and is on the Dean’s List) when her parents found out she identified as pansexual by going through her mail and reading her blog. When she came home for a visit during first semester, her parents told her they had something to tell her: They knew she was pansexual and her boyfriend was trans.
“My family, including extended family, is extremely homophobic,” Kate wrote on her GoFundMe page. “After they found out, my parents cut me off financially and I am no longer living with them.” Although Kate’s parents agreed to cosign a loan on her behalf for the spring semester, “they are both unwilling and unable” to do it for the rest of her tuition.
Since then, Kate has been trying to raise money for her Pitt tuition on social media, starting a hashtag called #KeepKateInCollege. (She says she’s enrolled in a community college for the time being, and will start attending classes there in the fall). She launched her GoFundMe page last week, as a “last ditch effort” to keep her in school.
Kate says that while she’s already saved money from her summer job and has a $6500 school loan, she needs an additional $15,000 for tuition, food, rent, and to help cover her allergy and asthma medication. (For the record, the annual in-state tutition at Pitt is a little over $17,000, while out-of-state tuition is about $27,000, according to US News and World Report).
“Going to Pitt is a dream of mine and I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to stay there,” she writes on her GoFundMe page. “I am majoring in English and History and minoring in German with the hope of becoming a novelist. I will be immensly [sic] grateful if your contributions allow me to stay at Pitt. I’m praying every day for a miracle to help make this possible.”
It might be possible sooner than she thought: Moved by her story, Kate’s supporters have been donating to her GoFundMe page and leaving inspirational messages in droves. (She’s also received some good news from Pitt’s financial aid department, and she’s meeting with them in a week to discuss her post-emancipation options). In one week, she’s raised $11,000 of her $15,000 intended target.