Young gay man disowned by family in viral video receives nearly $100,000 from supporters

September 4, 2014

(Gofundme)

A harrowing five-minute video of Daniel Ashley Pierce’s family berating him over his homosexuality has earned the 20-year-old sympathy and support from around the globe. A lot of support: A Gofundme account collecting donations to support Pierce after he was kicked out of his family’s Georgia home brought in nearly $100,000.

Earlier this week, Pierce posted an update to the crowdfunding page asking supporters and friends to direct future donations to the Atlanta-based charity that’s helping him rebuild his life.

That charity, Lost-N-Found, provides support to homeless LGBT youths in the area and helps them find housing. “It’s important for all of you to know that right now, what I need most is time to think and work through the next steps in my life,” Pierce wrote. “Right now, I’m safe and definitely feel your love all around me. Thank you!”

Pierce’s video, which is titled “How not to react when your child tells you that he’s gay,” now has nearly 6 million views on YouTube. It is, he has said, a secret recording of his family’s “delayed intervention” months after he came out as being gay. The camera captures the audio of the confrontation between Pierce and his family, but not the visuals.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Pierce said that his father, stepmother and grandparents were in the room.

A woman who is apparently Pierce’s grandmother says that she has “known you were gay since you were a tiny boy,” and then continues to condemn the “choice” he has made to be gay.

Pierce responds: “I have not made a choice.”

She disagrees: “You can deny it all you want to, but I believe in the word of God, and God creates nobody that way.”

The discussion and the confrontation rapidly escalate.

Pierce’s grandmother is heard telling him he needs to move out of the house, “because I will not let people believe that I condone what you do.”

Another woman, apparently Pierce’s stepmother, angrily tells Pierce: “You know you wasn’t born that way. You know damn good and well you made that choice. You know that [your father] has done everything he can to raise you. … He didn’t need to blame himself.”

After a short argument between Pierce and his stepmother over the content of a Facebook post about his father, people are heard yelling expletives and anti-gay slurs as Pierce tells his relatives not to hit him.

“You’re a disgrace,” a man who appears to be Pierce’s father tells him shortly before the end of the video.

“I’m not a disgrace,” Pierce replies.

Pierce told the Huffington Post in an e-mail that he recorded the exchange because, he said: “I wanted to make sure there was evidence in case something happened.”

His relatives, he told Huffington Post, have since instructed him — via voicemail — to remove the video from YouTube. He has not complied.

On Facebook, Pierce identifies himself as a business administration major at Georgia Highlands College, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.

In his initial appeal for funding, Pierce wrote that he “was basically beaten and thrown from my home of 19 years,” adding: “They took everything including my college text books. I intend to use this money to get the basic things I need such as a bed, text books, medical stuff and transportation.”

The full video is below. Warning: The video contains graphic language and may be disturbing.

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
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Abby Ohlheiser · September 4, 2014