A Texas family wants to help get a 17-year-old LGBT relative out of a conservative Christian camp that aims to “pray away the gay,” according to the “Save Sarah” GoFundMe page set up by “Joey Jordan,” who says the teen is a cousin.
Jordan says Sarah was taken to the camp against her will by her parents, who believe homosexuality is a sin. Even though 17-year-olds have some legal rights in the state of Texas, this sort of thing isn’t one of them, as Jordan points out:
Although 17-year olds are considered adults for certain purposes in Texas, state law permits parents to force their children to stay in a residential boarding facility until their 18th birthday.
Sarah was allegedly cut off from all outside communication including phone calls and email. At one point she tried to escape on her own, according to Jordan:
When Sarah attempted to walk out of the facility shortly after being placed there, staff quickly apprehended her and returned her to the facility, and she was punished for her escape attempt. When close friends of Sarah drove up to the facility in an attempt to free her, local law enforcement threatened to arrest them.
A June 9 update on the gofundme.com page said the extended family had been informed that Sarah had been released from the facility, but no details were known other than Sarah’s cousin believes “this page, and the willingness of you all to share Sarah’s story had a great deal to do with this.”
So far, more than $64,000 has been raised towards the $100,000 goal. It may sound like a lot of money, but the family explains on the fundraising page that they’ve already racked up $20,000 in legal fees. They say any money left over will go directly to the teen girl’s college fund.
The teen’s last name and other specific characteristics have been omitted in order to protect her and other family members, according to the GoFundMe page.