Online donations for a gay 19-year-old youth from Kennesaw, Georgia, exceeded $93,000 in three days after he posted a video online of his family beating him and throwing him out of his home after he came out to them as gay.
About 4.7 million people have watched the clip, in which the voice of Daniel Ashley Pierce can be heard telling his father, step-mother and sister that he was born gay and could never change. His step-mother and sister take the most combative roles, with his step-mother saying, “We will not support you any longer. You will need to move out and do whatever you want to, because I will not allow people to believe that I condone what you want to do.”
Pierce’s step-mother says that she’s known he was gay since he was a child, but she denies that he was born that way and insists homosexuality is a path he’s chosen. She also says that she loves him but hates what he’s doing — before she proceeds to physically attack him.
Pierce tries to argue that science proves homosexuality is an innate characteristic, prompting his step-mother to reply, “You can go by all the scientific proof you want to, but I am going by the word of God.”
“You know you wasn’t born that way,” she says before smacking him. “You know damn good and well.”
Pierce’s step-mother also argues that she’s not a homophobe, because she has gay friends. The difference, she ways, is that Pierce is related to her.
On the gofundme.com page that Pierce set up to raise money to start a life on his own, he thanks his supporters and asks them to donate to an Atlanta group that helps homeless LGBT youth.
“I would like to the opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who has so generously donated,” he writes. “My intent is to pay if forward and hopefully turn something so negative into something positive. I will do my best to value the gift I have been given by so many of you. Thank you for your love and support.
“If you would still like to make a donation please consider donating to Lost-N-Found Youth in Atlanta (http://www.lost-n-found.org.) They have been an amazing support and resource through this difficult time.”
According to a 2012 study by the Williams Institute, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Eighty-nine percent of them wound up on the streets due to their families’ reactions to their sexual orientation.
Homeless LGBT youth are 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth, and they commit suicide at higher rates (62 percent) than heterosexual homeless youth (29 percent).