Coming out to one's family as LGBT is pretty harrowing, even when you expect the reaction to be generally supportive or positive. However, too often for queer youth, coming out can still mean risking everything, including financial support, a place to live, and even love. One brave young man filmed his family's horrific reaction for all the world to see.
Daniel Ashley Pierce captured his family's homophobic and abusive response on his cell phone. In the video, his grandmother says she always knew Pierce was gay, but that she still believed his homosexuality was a choice which went against the words of God. His mother refused to let him stay in the basement of the house and played the "gay friend" card to excuse her homophobic behavior. According to Pierce, the family has cut the him off financially and taken his car. His boyfriend has set up a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $40,000.
Pierce does have one ally in the family, his aunt Teri Cooper, who "confirmed the video's authenticity to The Advocate." She says she received a text message from Pierce on Wednesday detailing an "intervention" to "pray the gay away." The family wouldn't let her in, probably because she would have tried to defuse the situation or put a stop to it. According to Cooper, Pierce had a split lip when he left the house, apparently from the physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepmother, which can be seen in the video.
More and more stories are like my own. When I came out my parents and they were loving and supportive. And that makes us all feel good and want to talk about how it's getting better, we're making progress... We want to feel good, and we love sharing these amazing stories.
However, this still is not the norm. Especially in certain communities in the Bible Belt and the American South, such as Georgia where Pierce is, this has not been the norm, isn't the norm, and won't be the norm for a while yet. Pierce's experience is a stark reminder of why around 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, which is a far, far, far higher percentage of that population than LGBT individuals are compared to the population as a whole.
Image via Getty. Video via Daniel Ashley Pierce/YouTube.