Now I wish I could hug my kids

This is a story to break your heart: Daniel Ashley Pierce recorded a confrontation with his family. He’s gay, and they disowned him, and kicked him out of the house.

That sounds so calm and straightforward. Listen to the video, though — he’s called a “little piece of shit,” a “damn queer” and a “disgrace.” Their own child, treated with such contempt. There are sounds of a struggle. There is yelling. There are invocations of a righteous god (guess by which side). It’s horrific.

All I could think is how lucky I am. I was always the oddball in my family, and I openly rejected their faith, but I could do that in complete confidence that they would still love me and would never cast me out. I hope my own kids know that they have my support and acceptance of whatever they choose to make their lives happy and worth living.

I have to ask the same question Pierce does.

“What is wrong with you people?” Pierce asks after one bout of physical violence.

“What’s wrong with you?” they scream back.

To throw away the love of your own child over such nonsense as Christianity or homophobia — this is something I simply cannot imagine, and it hurts to even try.


  1. says

    I watched it and was horrified. There’s a GoFundMe for Daniel:

    WOW!! I am so blessed by all of this! I want to give everyone of y’all a hug! I am without words right now! THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will be using a portion of this money to help others in the same situation! I want to make a difference and if I can save one kid the hurt and abuse that I went through I will be happy!! Each and everyone of y’all have made a huge impact on my life and I am feeling the love!! The kind words are helping me move on :-)

  2. Alaric says

    On a more positive note his boyfriend set up a gofundme account to get donations to get him a new place to live. Looking for 2k…. so far there has been over 75k donated in a day as well as plenty of supportive messages

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To throw away the love of your own child over such nonsense as Christianity or homophobia — this is something I simply cannot imagine, and it hurts to even try.

    The Redhead and I have known people who committed suicide after coming out to their parents and being tossed out. That was the sixties…
    Later when her cousin came out, even his he-man father climbed aboard and treated everybody with respect. And I didn’t hurt when at a family reunion I said her cousin and his partner sounded like an old married couple (they have since tied the knot, so they are), and I could see light bulbs going off every in everybody within listening distance, even the more religious types.

  4. sparks says

    Will Humanity ever be free of the bullshit that is religion? Someone please, for the love of FSM, humor me and say yes we will.

  5. Jackie says

    I met a boy who had been disowned by his adoptive parents for having grown into a gay teen. He was a sweet kid and a pleasure to be around.

    I still wonder how he’s doing. I think of him often. He’ll never be allowed to come here again. We took him apple picking at a lesbian couple’s farm. That kind of thing doesn’t float with certain people in the foster care community.

    On the other hand, a girl that grew up with my daughter brought her gf to a local prom with no problem at all. She wore a tux. She’s won several awards in school. She has her letter jacket and she’s doing great.

    It is getting better. It’s just that it has been so damn bad that “better” is still not so great.

  6. hexidecima says

    this is why people need to realize that people who share DNA with you are no more automatically deserving of love or respect than anyone else. Family means more than that.

  7. toska says

    Wow, I’m shaking with rage.
    Notice how after his mother tells him he cannot live with them anymore, he calmly says that he will be gone by next Thursday. Then his mother says, “That’s your choice.” Typical, manipulative, psychological abuse. I’m so glad that he had the awareness to call her on that and throw it back at her that it is her choice to kick him out. Not his.
    I wish the best for this young man. All the support in the world can’t make up for the abuse he’s suffered, but I hope the community and internet support he receives will help him move forward with his life.

  8. Sven says

    Is there anything more Orwellian than the fact that Republicans call these people “pro-family”?

  9. forestdragon says

    Sven@9 –
    Years ago I thought that religion could easily be added to the Big Brother slogans:

    War is peace
    Freedom is slavery
    Hate is love
    Ignorance is strength

  10. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    So much wrong with that I don’t even know where to begin. How his mother goes from sounding calm and reasonable (nb: I’m focusing on tone, not content) to uncontrolled violence (Christian “love” for you right there). How she insists it’s his choice to be gay even though she knew he was from a very young age (and what difference would it make anyway if being gay were a conscious choice? It still wouldn’t harm anyone and wouldn’t be anyone else’s business). The guilt trip they try to lay on him (“you’re father’s done everything for you”–everything except accept you for who you are).

    I just can’t imagine being those parents. I can’t imagine not accepting my kids for who they are.

  11. lirael says

    Unfortunately, I’ve known people in this situation. One of my local activist friends had a very similar thing happen to him when he came out as trans at around 18. I’ve met a bunch of street kids, though some of my activism, who were disowned by parents. I’ve facilitated trainings for my local rape crisis center at the city drop-in center for homeless and street-involved LGBTQ youth. I volunteer on an LGBTQ helpline (in a liberal region) and we occasionally get calls from kids going through this situation. A lot of young homeless people are homeless for this reason – Children’s Hospital Boston found that 25% of gay and lesbian teens and 15% of bisexual teens are homeless for some time in their teenage years, compared to 3% of straight teens, and according to some studies 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. And they often aren’t safe in straight cis shelters, and would prefer sleeping on the street outright.

    It never stops breaking my heart.

  12. lakitha tolbert says

    What enrages me is that these exact same hypocrites will come crawling out of the woodwork, if he leads a successful life and then the moment he passes away, they’ll come skittering into his home to take his possessions bc his SO would not have been allowed to inherit his belongings. Please someone tell me it’s not like that anymore!

    I know laws change, but not fast enough.

  13. futurechemist says

    The part that got me was that in the entire video, the only family member to show him any sort of love or affection was the dog.

    Considering all the donations he’s gotten, I hope he passes some of it along to a shelter or other worthy charity.

  14. says

    A GoFundMe page was set up for Daniel. It now stands with over $65,000 from about 2500 generous and caring people.

    And Dr. Drew talked to Daniel last night.

    Below, two clips of the conversation, with Dr. Drew, Daniel, and a man we assume is Daniel’s boyfriend, David. (The names seem to have been switched.) And, of course, Dr. Drew’s panelists, including Karamo Brown.

    “I work with LGBT youth daily,” Brown says at the end of the segment. “As an LGBT man, I’m going to let you now today I showed your story and your video to kids, and you did save someone’s life. You’re my hero — keep up that courage. You’re doing great work.”

    It’s important to note that there are others doing great work too. When Daniel was disowned by his family, through a friend he turned to the folks at Lost N Found Youth, who work with LGBT youth to help them into permanent housing. They were able to help Daniel, guide him, and offer him support he needed. Via email they tell The New Civil Rights Movement “Lost N Found and it’s legal resources are helping to set up a trust fund for him.”

  15. kpbvic says

    At the risk of sounding excessively empathetic, I think I could hear real pain in the voices of this kid’s family as they disowned him. They don’t realize that they themselves are victims of their own ideology. He might not have a choice, but they do.

  16. says

    Intellectually, I know that parents are not worthy of respect and honor simply for being parents. They earn respect and honor by being good parents. I know this.
    Yet I find I’m still massively pissed off at Daniel’s parents. They’ve chosen to adhere to one principle that they think is in their holy book (regardless of whether it is or not), while ignoring other principles-ones that may or may not be in their same holy book-principles like love, compassion, and empathy for your child.
    Their failings as parents is all the more apparent when you see that 2500 people-probably complete strangers to Daniel-have given him north of $65,000. They gave of their own hearts and pocketbooks to help another human being that they don’t know, or have a close attachment to, because these people care. They’re compassionate and empathetic. But the people in the world that you would expect to most display compassion and empathy toward Daniel-his family-shat on him!
    This makes me so goddamned furious!
    Don’t get me wrong-I’m very happy that so many generous people have stepped up to ease the tremendous financial burden that Daniel was under. But it doesn’t change the fact that his family are fucking assholes who chose to pick one religious belief to follow at the expense of their child!

  17. says


    At the risk of sounding excessively empathetic, I think I could hear real pain in the voices of this kid’s family as they disowned him. They don’t realize that they themselves are victims of their own ideology. He might not have a choice, but they do.

    I’m going to be blunt here: as a gay man who felt the sting of rejection from his parents upon coming out*, I don’t give a flying fuck how much “pain” Daniel’s family is in. He’s the victim here. He’s the one who had his family reject him. They chose to make that decision. They could have, instead of rejecting and abusing him, chosen to accept him. They could have chosen to not accept him and at least let him continue living with them. They could have said “we need time to come to terms with this” and NOT kicked him out or beat him, or called him homophobic slurs. They could have said they’d seek family counselling bc they don’t know how to deal with this. They could have done any number of things much less vile than kicking him out, and getting emotionally and physically abusive with him. But no, these shitstains chose to demonstrate what horrible people they are.
    Pardon me if I don’t give a rat’s ass about any “pain” they’re in.

    *they didn’t kick me out, or get emotionally or physically abusive, so my situation is not completely analogous to Daniel’s.

  18. kpbvic says

    Hey, that’s why I can be excessively empathetic: I’ve never felt the sting you have. I’m just saying that nobody wins here, and it’s a damned shame all round.

  19. says

    Yes, but since they’re the ones causing the pain, maybe a thread about the person they treated so badly isn’t the place for sympathizing with them?

    My mother and her husband told me not to call them or otherwise bother them when I told them I was transitioning. The husband has never spoken to me again, 22 years later.

    My mother sent me a letter in which she said it would have been easier for her if I’d died.

    When she told my sister to contact me, when Mum was in hospital and thought she was dying, it was twelve years later. She lives less than 100km from me.

    Oh, and she’s just as atheist as I am. So I don’t care about these bigots’ pain about their abusive rejection, since THEY ARE THE REASON FOR THEIR PAIN. If being an asshole hurts so much, may I recommend an extended period of therapeutic not-being-an-asshole?

  20. says


    Yes, but since they’re the ones causing the pain, maybe a thread about the person they treated so badly isn’t the place for sympathizing with them?

    YES! ↑ THIS ↑

    kpvbic, I understand what you’re saying, and I concede that your point has some merit, but this is not the thread for it.

  21. mikee says

    lirael @13

    It never stops breaking my heart.

    I feel the same way. But, at least you have a heart – for parents to behave like this seems completely heartless.
    25 years ago I came out to my moderate catholic parents who, apart for weeks of crying by my mother, accepted it. I did wait until I was 20 and able to support myself if I had to, but was lucky that they didn’t react as badly as other GBLT sons and daughters I am aware of.
    Religion poisons everything it touches. It is hard to believe that 20 years since I came out people are so narrow minded and cruel.

  22. magistramarla says

    I was the teacher/mentor for the GSD group in the high school where I taught. Several of my “babies” told me that they would be kicked out of the house if their parents ever found out the truth about them.
    I was always dismayed at how much those parents were missing. Their teens shared much more of their lives with me. I heard all about their first loves, their first heartbreaks and their dreams for the future. It was so sad that their parents refused to share in these important events in their own children’s lives.
    Of course, I had some understanding. My very abusive mother disowned me after I eloped. She had been abusive to me for years.

  23. mikee says

    ps, I can’t bring myself to watch the clip – I am personally aware of several people who were made to feel so bad by their parents about their sexuality that they found suicide easier that living. At least it appears Daniel has the support to avoid this route.

  24. ekwhite says


    I know Kennesaw Georgia, and I know the kind of vicious fubdamentalist jerks that live there. I am even related to some of them. I feel absolutely zero sympathy for these people after hearing them verbally and physically abusing Daniel.

  25. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    My reaction upon finding out my daughter was dating a girl she knew in high school, “Oh, cool. I like her.”
    My reaction on her telling me she is panromantic but asexual. “Oh, well, some people never do have that urge. It’s just who they are.”
    I’m really beyond understanding how there could be any OTHER kinds of reactions.

  26. says

    In my theist days, I was a deacon in the Metropolitan Community Church, an evangelical denomination founded by a Pentecostal minister who had been defrocked for being gay. The church was in Tucson, and it was the mid 1980s. One of my duties as a deacon was to work with social service agencies and find help people for who had gone through shit like this. I once helped a kid who had escaped from a Mormon “re-education” camp.

    And this is still all too common.

  27. grumpyoldfart says

    Control freaks love religion. It allows them to beat the shit out of anyone they don’t like – and then claim the high moral ground.

  28. closeted says

    “I have known that you were gay since you were a tiny little boy”

    A handful of seconds later…

    “You have made a choice”

    I cannot believe Daniel stayed as calm as he did with that start. But the truth of this mother does not fully come out until around 1:57, where she says her problem is that she does not want others to think she condoned this behavior. According to a follow up reddit post by Daniel’s boyfriend, the parents have since been in contact…to ask that the video be taken down.

    This is more than just religious bigotry; this is people putting fear of peer pressure above their child’s welfare. They were worried what people would think if they supported a gay son; I hope they now *know* what the world thinks of unloving cowards who abandon their children when they need parents the most.

  29. says

    The money raised for Daniel has surpassed $90,000. He had this to say (updated 14 minutes ago):

    Wow! Thanks for all the support… I am just so blessed! Please know that I mean no harm to my family in the video. I love each and everyone of them. What was done to me was devastating. My life was turned up side down… With this support I am beginning to put it back together. I am planning on donating a portion of this to the LGBT community to help kids in my same situation. I am feeling the love and with this WE can all make a difference for equal rights and acceptance . Thank you again!!

    The only thing that makes his situation not make me break down in tears (and I still want to do that) is the fact that 3,442 people have chosen to show their compassion toward him.

  30. anym says

    Is he an only child?

    Guy I used to know at school was gay. He got to see his older brother come out to his parents and be disowned, as a hint of things to come.

  31. rogerfirth says

    According to a follow up reddit post by Daniel’s boyfriend, the parents have since been in contact…to ask that the video be taken down.

    I hope they leave it up. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    Too bad if they’re embarrassed by their conduct. That’s the choice they made.

  32. Jackie says

    I can’t watch it, but I hope he leaves it up. People like his parents need to know what other people think of them and what their hate looks like.

    Frankly, I’d like to make that family watch that video everyday for the rest of their lives.

  33. marcus says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop @ 31 I didn’t really have tears in my eyes until I read your post. I grew up in rural Alabama. When my sister came out to our family (at age 50) she was derided and told that it was “just a phase” and that she was only doing it to “get attention”. She has since broken off contact with most of them. I haven’t talked to her in a few weeks. I think I’m going to call her up today and tell her how much I love her. Thanks.

  34. eeyore says

    I don’t understand how this isn’t legally actionable child abuse (or at least child neglect). We live in a society in which single mothers get arrested for letting their children play in the park unattended. How is it not child neglect to kick an underage child out of the house? Has anything thought about turning this tape over to the police and social services? Maybe a well-publicized criminal prosecution would have a salutary effect on other parents.

  35. smhll says

    Thanks for the reminder to hug my kid, to support the cause of kids who don’t have unconditional support, and to appreciate my parents. As much as I begrudge them some little things, they have always physically supported me and are usually good for holiday presents and dinners out. So during my upcoming visit, I’m going to exert myself to be extra appreciative. Having caring parents is a tremendous advantage. (My parents have never cared about a mythical hell.)

  36. carlie says

    According to a follow up reddit post by Daniel’s boyfriend, the parents have since been in contact…to ask that the video be taken down.

    Interesting. One would think that they would be proud to have it shown, since his mother’s primary concern seemed to be that she was afraid other people would think she condoned his “lifestyle”. It’s almost as if they understand what horrible people they really are.

  37. says


    I hope they leave it up. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
    Too bad if they’re embarrassed by their conduct. That’s the choice they made.

    I can’t see how they could scrub that video off the internet. The parents probably think it’s just on Daniel’s FB page, but it has spread FAR and WIDE.

  38. says

    Actually, I don’t believe that parents who disown their children really want to kick them out.
    What they want is their children to obey and crawl back, apologise and stop being so fucking gay, trans, dating nonwhites, living their own lives.
    They simply cannot fathom that they don’t have the power to make them. They are shocked and hurt when the children leave. In their eyes, they are the victims of their horrible offspring (they are destroying the family, where did it go wrong, what have the poor parents done to deserve this?)

  39. gog says

    My girlfriend’s cousin was disowned by his parents. He had already come out to them when he was 15 or so (about six years ago now), but agreed to not only refrain from acting on it, but actually try to be straight. He dated a girl for a few months for their sake. He really wanted to please his parents and be good to them. In fact, my girlfriend’s dad said of the situation, “He was a loyal son.” In my mind, “unwitting victim” seemed more appropriate, but that’s not really important.

    In the end, he came out to my girlfriend and had revealed to her something quite interesting. He had been in a long-distance relationship with a man for several months. Even while he was dating the girl for his parents. They arranged to live together, and Cousin Guy told the truth to his parents, packed his stuff and left. He had the support of a partner and the awareness that if he tried to be himself in defiance of his parents’ order, he would be kicked out of the family.

    He’s happily married now to that same man he fled his family to be with. It’s quite a love story if you ignore all the hate and bigotry and bile that he’s endured. He was always treated very differently from his siblings. I understand now that it’s because he’s gay and no other reason.

    As for Daniel, I’m happy to know (after seeing the post on Reddit) that he’s going to land on his feet like Cousin Guy did. It really makes me sick to think about how many kids end up homeless or worse… I’m glad there are charities and generous individuals out there that reach out to LGBTQ youth and give them some support in dark times. The fact that it has to be a thing is horrible, though.