Gay Stories:
A Survivor’s Account of An Unbelievable Hell Called Home

Nathan Marquiese From Nathan: "After sharing his story, Sam went on to tell me that he has a smiley face poster on the ceiling above his bed so it's the first thing he sees every day. Not to make himself feel better but because his goal in life is to make someone smile every single day.

Two weeks after our Manhattan visit, I read in the news that Kansas State passed a resolution supporting the equal rights of the LGBTQ community, being lead by none other than Samuel Brinton."

For more stories now, there's a  YouTube channel and their beautiful site at 50StateStoryTour where you can also get in touch if you want a visit. You can also just send them your stories about where you're from and growing up.



There are some great ones to come from these guys, other producers, and from you. Who are you and what's that like? Got a story about any other part of your life? Someone else's? Consider writing, recording, or shooting it in claymation. (or regular video) and sharing it with Towleroad users and the world.

Towleroad is currently the No. 1 most-visited gay news or content site, so a great place for your story, cautionary or inspirational tale or even "how to" video. What we're looking for:

– Any stage of life — conception to death, though not likely your own in either case; 

– So-called "news" to what's news to you;

– The mundane and spectacular.

– "This American Gay Life" to "America's Funniest Gay Home Videos"

Use the contact page or send to stories@towleroad dot com (Send us a private link for video or a note asking how to get it to us.)

And keep watching.

*Yes, adult and dating sites have their own slightly bigger categories as well as slightly different stories.


  1. Craig says

    No words convey the horror of what that young man has been through. It is a testament of his resolve that he is still with us and the power of forgiveness that he is even willing to try to make contact with his parents, his father especially, ever again.

  2. dreamfish says

    Indeed. Quite unbelievable what he went through – he’s stronger than I am (and more forgiving). The sad reality is that children are essentially the property of their parents and can almost be treated as such.

    As the saying goes, you can choose your friends, not your parents. Nowadays I have much less contact with my family and live more with and through my friends – and I’m happier for it.

  3. Disgusted American says

    ahhh that kid/young man is too nice…Id tell them in in No uncertain terms to go stuff thier fucking buy-bull up dads ass- and moms twat… ignorant mother fucking disgusting pigs.

  4. Hollywood, CA says

    I would guess that this kids father was horrifically abused by a male pedophile, and his overreaction was caused by his probably childhood trauma. I mean, it’s one thing to think gay is wrong, and another thing to start beating the shit out of your own kid at the hint of gay.

    I’m not saying his treatment was right, I’m just saying that there has got to be a story with the father that begins with some kind of sexual abuse.

    Just sayin…

  5. Chris says

    The sound control is confusing. It looks like the old YouTube control that opens upwards, but it just mutes. The ball to the right does the job.

  6. ohplease says

    I sincerely hope he’s in intensive therapy. Nobody can go through that much torture and be okay without help ever again, even if they are perfectly functional on a day-to-day basis. The fact that he feels the need to contact his abusers — repeatedly and constantly, no less — is a terrible sign. He needs to move past these people and work with the legal system to get his younger siblings out of the clutches of people who torture and threaten to kill their own children.

  7. says

    To have come through what you experienced and to be sane and rational and have your integrity intact speaks loudly of your personal strength.
    i hope you read this….I hope you move on with your life and leave these pathetic people behind.

  8. D.R.H. says

    It makes me so angry that some idiot is telling him, “oh give them some time and they’ll come around”. They’re never “coming around” and for him to keep hoping so is damaging to his growth and acceptance of that. There are religious people that go to church on Sundays and leave it at that. These people come around. Then there are fervent, brainwashed, quacks who believe that God is going to smite them down at any second. His parents are the latter. He needs to run as far from them as he can and slap the shit out of the asshole that keeps telling him to try to establish a relationship with them. They washed their hands of him long ago and he needs to do the same of them.

  9. John says

    What a horror! I hope that this kid keeps on walking away from this miserable family. I hope he has found the love and acceptance that he not only needs but deserves in his present location. Build a new family because your old “family” wasn’t one.

  10. Joel says

    Well, this confirms my determination never to set foot in any church that is not gay friendly. I am really sorry that I went to my granddaughter’s baptism in the Roman Catholic Church. I had no say that it was there, but I should have stayed home.

    Never give those guys a shred of recognition. Not for a baptism, not for a wedding, not for a funeral.

    Meanwhile, we have criminal behavior here. I know that the authorities can really do nothing without his cooperation, but he should seriously consider criminal charges against his monster parents.

  11. Rowan says

    I concur what everyone has said. He is letting the abusers get away with more abuse. Typical lefty thinking, no wonder the right wing in the US make so much mince meat of you guys!

    Grow some balls, report them, look after your siblings and lead your life in an exemplary way.

    I’m sorry but I don’t feel sorry for victims or serial battered wife syndrome.

  12. Patric says

    “He is letting the abusers get away with more abuse. Typical lefty thinking, no wonder the right wing in the US make so much mince meat of you guys!”


    Since you’ve chosen to exploit this young man’s story to attempt to score some political points, allow me to point out that you appear to be woefully misinformed about the politics of protecting children from abuse and recognizing the rights of children in this country. It was the efforts of progressives like Marian Wright Edelman and Hillary Rodham Clinton which laid much of the foundation for the protections which exist today for abused children. Too often it has been right-wingers opposing those initiatives under the argument that government should not be interfering with the ability of parents to discipline their children as they see fit.

  13. IAN F says

    I think I need to call my parents and tell them how much I love them.
    They may drive me crazy but I always knew I was loved.

    And did anyone report this “Therapy” place to the police?

  14. Agcons says

    Congratulations, Rowan. Give Tim Proffitt a call when you get a chance; there’s a good boy.

  15. walter says

    this kid is fantastic to have endured such hate and still seems to be pretty level headed is a miracle. his parents don’t know how lucky they are to have him.his father sounds like he is a few bricks short of a full load. and shoulr be prosecuted for child abuse. no one should be allowed to beat somebody like that. the bastard should be in jail and the other kids removed to child services. maybe in jail he could learn a real lesson.

  16. Keith says

    I grew up in Minnesota, and my experience was not all that different from this young man’s story. My deeply religious family basically threw me to the curb when I came out 30 years ago, just before I graduated from high school. I worked three jobs, put myself through college, met the man of my dreams and got legally married in California, we adopted two wonderful children who are about to start college; and through it all my family didn’t want to hear a word about any of it. They never call, they never answer my calls, they return any mail or holiday cards I send them (but I keep sending them anyway), and I doubt they will ever change. What I learned most is that a family is based on the one we create for ourselves, not necessarily the one that is handed to us at birth. I have the most wonderful family anyone could hope for on this planet, and ours is filled with love and boundless joy. I can only guess that my family is not as happy, as it wasn’t the a loving or demonstrative family one could really attach to on any level. My guess is that this young man’s family doesn’t really know what love is, how to express it, or how to enjoy this gift in life to its fullest.

  17. Kyle Sullivan says

    Jesus, Christ, so damn many people are just plain scum. How ANY parent can do that to their child is beyond belief. There’s a special place in hell for them.

  18. Chuck Mielke says

    For “Hollywood”:

    Let’s be clear about two things: (1) we don’t know the dad’s story; (2) whatever his past or motivations, he did and caused despicable things to be done to his son. He should be prosecuted and receive treatment, in that order.

    Sam Brinton has his own demons to deal with. So far, he seems to be living with the christian notion of forgiveness. While this posture is commendable, it’s not therapeutic. He did not say, in the clip, that he realizes that his parents “done him wrong.” He needs to realize this fact; then he can start to heal.

  19. ratbastard says

    What happened to this guy is certainly an extreme case, and of course horrible. Is it fair to extrapolate that all religious people [or which I’m not] are like his fucked up mom and dad? No, no more than it is fair to say because some environmentalists are frauds and loons so all are, or some gays and lesbians are loons so all are.

    My mom was a fairly devout Catholic, my dad somewhat, but he didn’t attend regular church services. They paid out of pocket to send me and my brothers and sisters to Catholic schools because these schools were better performing and safer than the public alternative their taxes helped fund. Both my mom and dad were totally supportive and loving of me when I told them I was gay. Never once was there hesitation. They taught me growing up to respect others and never negatively judge someone solely on their background. If I had used a negative slur growing up against anyone, such as the N word, or whatever, both my mom and dad would have killed me. And in the end they practiced what they preached. I can’t conceive of a family, mom or dad disowning their child because he or she is gay. I can’t conceive a mom or dad physically and mentally torturing their child because he or she is gay, or paying others to do so. Something is SERIOUSLY fucked up about any organization, religious or otherwise, that would condone the treatment this guy received at the hands of his mom and dad.

  20. princely54 says

    This young man needs to be in some really heavy therapy before he ever sees his family again, if ever. I feel for him and am sorrowful for his totally unnecessary pain. But, I think he can (and is) come through this with a clarity that few of us can ever know thanks overcoming that horrific upbringing.

    I think it would be dangerous for him to ever see his father again, though. Unless the man is incapacitated and cannot hold a gun or pull a trigger. I think he would and could kill the boy.

    @Rowan: you are a caveman.

  21. Stephen Luartes says

    Unfortunately there are still “cure the gay” therapy programs that utilize physical TORTURE. Even though I’m 30 years his senior, my parents were very conservative protestant missionaries, and I went through a similar circumstance.

  22. says

    I love you Sam. I think you may be one of those people who are transcendent…you have risen above all the things that were inflicted on you. I’m a therapist so I don’t badmouth the value of therapy. However I can also see when a person has the internal strength,grace and insight to transcend the harm they have endured and become something far more powerful. You are a loving human being. Maybe there would be some value in exploring the events of your life with a professional but thats totally your call. Me I think you’re great and I would consider you a hero and role model. As for your parents, profesionally I think they are in need of intensive therapy but probably couldn’t benefit from it. On a personal level I’d like to kick the living shit out of them for being too stupid to see the Christ-like behavior demonstrated by you in your continuing love for them. They don’t deserve you.

  23. Tom in long beach says

    Sam’s storey is intense. While I think Sam should leave the door open, he would do best to not try and contact the parents for a while. While I never endured physical abuse, my parents kicked me out when I came out. It was sort of time for me to move out anyway. I had minimal contact with them for 8 years. Some years no contact at all. I avoided many family functions.
    Today they accept my husband and myself.

  24. rebar says

    Unfortunately, this story isn’t unusual. Having lived in a large urban area for a long time it’s easy to become complaisant about being out. Hearing this story brought it all back again. I’m so glad Sam was able to hold it together and make it to KC. Even though his parents have rejected him, he still seems able to have a positive outlook and that’s great. My advice to him is you can’t change your parents, but you can make your own family out in the world. Stay strong and stay proud Sam!

  25. Jonster says

    Your sexuality is innate. Religion is a choice. You are already divine. Why buy second-hand what you already own?