Gay Teen Records His ‘Christian’ Family’s Heartbreaking and Abusive Reaction to His Coming Out: VIDEO

Teen

In a disturbing and terribly sad video posted on YouTube Wednesday, a boy named Daniel is berated and disowned by his parents after coming out. The family claims to have supported him despite "knowing" he was gay since a young age, and though the details of the situation are murky, their hostile and, in the end, violent response is utterly reprehensible. 

The video, posted by user Regina Ryan, had this description:

A perfect example of how much hate and intolerance still exists today. This family gave a young man two options: attend a pray the gay away intervention, or face being disowned by the very people who are supposed to love him unconditionally.

Disclaimer: This is a 19 year old friend of mine who is currently staying with very supportive friends. He is safe and removed from the situation. I am posting this on his behalf per his request. I was not witness to the events that transpired, but was present immediately after to help him relocate.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Daniel now that he is without his family's care. In just twenty-one hours the video has received over one million views and Daniel has received nearly $50,000 in donations from strangers, showing that there is a great deal of support and kindness in the world. Our thoughts are most definitely with him as he traverses this horribly tough patch in life.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP

Warning: The video contains disturbing language and abuse and may be difficult for some viewers to watch. 

Comments

  1. johnny says

    Well, that’s what most of the south is like. The minute I heard the accents, I knew it was going to be typical.

    The mother first says “I knew you were gay since you were a little boy” and then goes on to say that it’s a choice? What little toddler makes that kind of choice?

    Cognitive disconnect!!!

  2. AJ says

    Wow Towleroad. What a wonderful way to start the day! This kid is better off without them. Painful, sure, but at least he has supportive friends. Oh and move away from the South. Clearly that’s where this is happening.

  3. The Milkman says

    It’s not just the south. It’s everywhere. I think it would be easier to attribute this kind of emotional and physical violence not to southern ignorance, but to the toxic effect of mindless religiosity.

    This kid should take that money, go to college, and fly as far away from these two neantherthals as he can get. Education is the silver bullet… it’ll change his life for the better.

  4. Caliban says

    I hope these people are exposed, their names revealed. A commenter on another website (JMG?) suggested “outing” parents like this, making them own their hate publicly and take the consequences. No doubt they would receive some approval from other Religious Right types like themselves but I think most people would treat them like the monsters they are. Sounds good to me.

  5. Will says

    @The Milkman

    I don’t know if you can blindly blame this kid’s parent’s reaction on “mindless religiosity.” I think this is more of an issue of class (socioeconomic status) and education.

    I hope Daniel uses the donated money wisely to go to college and escape the his surroundings.

  6. MaryM says

    Why is the word christian written in inverted commas?

    Hatred, bigotry and division are core christian values – tolerance, respect and love are not christian values.

    Religion is a cancer that destroys.

    There is no ‘god’ after all.

  7. art says

    I don’t know why christian is in quotes in the article’s title. If the vast majority of christians believe something is true, doesn’t that make it a christian value?

  8. crispy says

    “Hatred, bigotry and division are core christian values…”

    Not just christian values. They’re yours too, apparently, evident by the hatred, bigotry and division (ESPECIALLY division) you espouse in your constant trans bashing.

    Once again, the Internet Award for Irony goes to MaryM.

  9. Rence says

    The woman speaking states that she believes in the word of God – but her justification for her actions is that “She doesn’t want other people to think …..”

    Her concern is the opinion of others. Well with this video going viral, there are lots and lots of others that have now formed an opinion of her.

  10. The Milkman says

    @Will
    Agreed, class can often be an important factor in how these situations unfold. But make no mistake, wealthy families from the north can be just as emotionally and physically violent as poor southerners. They just express it differently sometimes. The thread that binds these two very different family units together is religion.

  11. Derrick from PhillyDe says

    Daniel,

    if you read Towleroad, I want you to know that there is 100% agreement on this blog that you are a very brave, intelligent and educated young man.

    Thank you, Daniel, for being in this world.

  12. JackFknTwist says

    “Focus on the Family” and the other groups are now exposed by this tape; this is what ignorance and ‘word of god’ enthusiasts do and say to young gay kids who try to reason with them.

    This tape is not a one-off; this is the script of christian family values.

    Run Daniel, run.
    As Bronski Beat sang so long ago;
    “Do not cry to them, just to your soul.”

  13. studbud says

    Two thoughts went through my head when I watched this video: the first was how horrible a situation this is for Daniel or anyone and how sorry I am that this happens. The parents are disgraceful!

    The second thought is that this isn’t really about religion, but selfishness. The mother (or stepmother, I’m not sure which) said that “I will not let people think that I condone what you do…” That is a direct quote. Wow. You turn your own child out because of what other people might think about YOU. No words. No words…

  14. Craig says

    Yeah, “jesus” would hate him. I almost always put quote marks around many “christian” words and leave it lower case because most the time the way “christians” are acting has nothing to do with Christ (as if the bible isn’t fiction enough).

  15. simon says

    The question is:
    “Are these Christian values?”
    They are Catholic values for sure.
    The Church’s stand on homosexuality is clear and what they say matters as it is not a democratic institution.
    The Catholic Church seems to think it’s not a choice because they said it is “intrinsically” disordered.

  16. Mike says

    He was being very disrespectful to his mother that’s why he got hit.He’s also not a kid,he’s 19 or 20 years old an adult to he can leave his parents house.

  17. anon says

    While the video might be fake (it’s the Internet after all), my general advice is to not come out to a potentially abusing or neglectful family until you’ve achieved some financial independence. These days, that’s probably age 30. In the past, it might have been 18-19, but getting a good job isn’t easy these days. There are many, many homeless LGBT teens in this country who came out to their abusive (and often already broken) families, were then thrown out and ended up on the streets, where their life expectancies are measured in months, not years. So, you are much better off waiting.

  18. says

    This video has been seen all over the internet and was a lead story on several high profile news sites so my question is, surely the police and child care authorities have seen or head of this. Why haven’t they arrested this couple for child abuse and removed this young man from their harm?

  19. studbud says

    @ MIKE,

    I’ve seen this argument elsewhere in relation to this story. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids, but why is it an acceptable response to beat a kid (or your young adult offspring) when they argue back you after you kick them out off the house and contradict yourself three times in five minutes while insulting who they are and who they have always been? Can you help me understand?

  20. Seanumich says

    This is to granny who said she believe sin gods word. Well guess what stupid, if “god” is ALL POWERFUL, then HE made Daniel what he is. How can a person thank god for the good, but ignore him for the bad in their life? It is stupidity at its finest. Either god is all powerful, or he isnt. If he isnt, then why do I guve a crap what “he” thinks or what his word is

  21. Derrick from Philly says

    The mother doesn’t understand or accept the concept of sexual orientation. There are still many folks (expecially fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews) who believe that we choose our sexuality or gender identity.

    One comentator just questioned whether the recording is real or a performance.

    Oh, yes, that horrible experience on that recording is REAL for many many LGBT young folks.

  22. says

    His funding is up to $60,000 now.

    Is there a chance his family may say, “We want that money! You owe us for this and that and this and that!”

    Is there a chance they could say, “You recorded us indoors without our permission and posted it on the Internet to humiliate us. Now we’re going to sue for that money!” This could happen if one of them loses a job because of the video.

    That’s why it’s better to donate a scholarship that can only be used for college or to donate a grocery store gift card that can only be used for groceries. That way you know where the money is going.

  23. The Milkman says

    Would one of our Towleroad commenters with experience in financial planning please weigh in with some suggestions on how Daniel can best safeguard this money, so he can use it for college and to move on with his life without having to worry about these two neanderthals grabbing for it? If he’s 19 or 19, he may be in a different place in this regard than had he been 16 or 17.

  24. says

    the best thing now is for this to get to EVERYONE – OUT these parents. may their neighbours, co-workers and entire communities see what they’ve just done.

    it’s funny how Peer Pressure works – “what will the neighbours think?” is an all-too-common response from the more selfish of family members: so, spin it around. what will the neighbours think about violently, hatefully disowning their gay family member?

    i’ve known countless young people over the years who faced situations just like this – and Outing the family, blowing the secret wide open, is a good tactic. it lets the community know there’s a crisis, and that there’s a need for dialogue, it also robs the bigoted family of the ability to Secretly Stew on the “issue” – if they won’t talk about it, the entire neighbourhood will. don’t underestimate how a factor like that plays into people working to “come around”

    more and more families are realizing that having a gay kid is not what makes them “look back” – but how they mistreat their gay kid does.

  25. kipp says

    Reprehensible parents & family – but this “teen” is 20 according to other reports. More than a few people (and more than a few of those were from abusive families) have left home by age 20. There’s nothing to do but move on to a new life and and a new chosen family… a tech-savvy boyfriend and $60K+ are a good way to start.

  26. david from Edmonton says

    OMG this is truly disturbing. This is the behaviour of CHRISTIANS towards their own child. These people ned to be called out with their faces madepublic for what they did to their so. It is disgusting and evil and these are the people Christ told us to be tolerant of. These people are hatefuland cruel and don’t deserve to have their chld acknowedge them. Ever. I feel so sad for him.

  27. headshaker says

    Every time I read a story or watch a video like this I am reminded of how truly lucky I am to have two wonderful, loving and supportive parents. I came out very late to them for fear of backlash and was extremely surprised at how accepting they were. Heck, I was grounded for not getting honour roll in highschool.. so imagine coming out to 70+ yo Italian Catholic parents who go to church every Sunday. The day I came out to them was the first time in a decade that my father and I hugged.. he saying that it didn’t matter, that I was still his son, that he loved me no less that day than the day before, and that so many others had done the same as me before me.. and they were all okay too. Not all “Christians” treat others as poorly as the parents in this video do. My only recommendation to this guy is that he forgive his parents for they not know what they are saying.. and he will feel better if he can forgive them and move on with his life. Perhaps one day they will realize their ignorance.

  28. clint says

    My very Southern, Episcopalian mother would be horrified by this. “Jesus loves everybody, everybody is welcome!” “The Bible was written by MEN…forrr MEN!” I’ve heard her say all the above, and mean it.

  29. Observer says

    This is a sad story, and these are horrible people, but I am so tired of the reflexive bashing of Christians by people who read this blog. Look, I ‘m sorry if you grew up in some extremist Christian household. But to say that these people are representative of all Christians is ludicrous. Not to mention being the worst kind of stereotyping that we of all people shoudl be wary of engaging in. The same is true for those who would take these people as being representative of all Southerners. What ridiculous provincialism. There are bigoted people everywhere. There are bigoted Muslims (and bigoted Catholics) and bigotic Jews and bigoted atheists. There are lots and lots of bigoted people in places other than the South. That doesn’t mean that the South doesn’t have its share of serious problems, and that doesn’t mean that fundamentalism isn’t a corrosive force, but for goodness sake stop it with the vitriol directed at other groups. Finally, I would agree that there is also a major element of socioeconomic class involved here. Let’s just say that no on in that video is a graduate of a top 20 college.

  30. says

    “Let’s just say that no on in that video is a graduate of a top 20 college.”

    And many folks who never went to college are not bigoted, too.

    one of the things folks disregard about the family from “honey boo boo” is that, yes, they’re pro-Equality.

    then you look at the wealthy white “educated” republicans in office…..well, hate all around.

  31. northalabama says

    this video should be shown in the family’s church, the pastor following with commentary.

    anyone claiming to “love the sinner, hate the sin” should have to answer for the hate and trauma such ignorant commentaries foster.

  32. Observer says

    Good point Little Kiwi I shouldn’t have suggested that being less educated or being poor means you are a bigot. That’s yet another stereotype that we need to move beyond.

  33. chris says

    Well, Towleroad now has so many auto-open video ads on one page that I can no longer completely open pages on my home computer. Congratulations, I guess?

  34. chris says

    Well, Towleroad now has so many auto-open video ads on one page that I can no longer completely open pages on my home computer. Congratulations, I guess?

  35. PROXAK says

    Daniel lists his step-mother by name in his Facebook post, her name is Susan Highfield Pierce. A commenter on the article found at Edge on the Net lists her phone number and email address. Another commenter lists Robert Pierce as the father. Both step-mother and father apparently have deleted their Facebook profiles … not surprisingly.

  36. GregV says

    “I don’t know why christian is in quotes in the article’s title. If the vast majority of christians believe something is true, doesn’t that make it a christian value?”

    @Art: I would expect the vast majority of Christians to disagree with this mother’s actions, though I think some people’s views of Christians are skewed by living in a locale (such as the rural South) where backward fundamentalist sects are the norm.
    What is truly “Christian” is what reflects the teachings of Jesus, not of people who CLAIM to speak for him.
    If, as a hypothetical example, a Brad Pitt Fan Club banded together against adoption and Brad disavowed everything they said and set the example of loving his own adopted kids, would you call “anti-adoption” a “Brad Pitt value?”

  37. JJ says

    @GREGV, you aren’t in a position to lecture others on what is “truly” Christian. The origins of Christianity are several millennia old at this point—long enough that everyone alive today is equally devoid of any authority on the subject. Which is why your Brad Pitt analogy is invalid. Brad Pitt is uniquely positioned to say what Brad Pitt believes and he’s alive today, making him the undisputed authority on what he believes. In two-thousand years, fan clubs can attribute diametrically opposed views to Brad Pitt, and none can declare itself the superior authority if the surviving record of Brad Pitt is as ambiguous and inconsistent as our record of Jesus Christ.

  38. says

    It’s terrible what happened to him, I always have to side-eye crowd funding things because whenever the queer youth of color are in the same situation, it’s like pulling a tooth when trying to get the same kind of support and media recognition. I’ll never forget the day that a black gay teen got kicked out of school for defending himself from a bully and the petition to get him back in school couldn’t break a thousand signatures but months prior a white gay teen was able to get over 50 thousand.

  39. Bernie says

    This story is very hard to read and comprehend….I cannot even think of listening or watching the video……..I realize that this is the family of this young man, but I hope he presses charges…..their reaction and behavior is over the top and criminal! One article yesterday about the family stated they were not particularly religious!

  40. unkown says

    If we want to stop stereotyping Homosexuals we should also stop stereotyping southerners and Christians. Not everyone is the same. Look at Jesus’ teachings. He wouldn’t dare judge a homosexual. He befriended prostitutes and sinners but somehow hates gays? Very untrue and twisted use of his word. Just my thoughts.

  41. Bill says

    The other question: given that he seems to have been punched, cutting his lip, and given the evidence (including the video), why hasn’t the D.A. dragged his parents into court and charged them with assault and battery?

    The people who attacked this guy should be thrown into jail, and being a relative is no excuse.

  42. ToThePoint says

    Say what you will, but for the various scriptures throughout all religions, LGBT citizens would not be persecuted. Religion is what actually teaches judgment which is channeled through bigotry, hate, discrimination and violence. And this takes place ALL in the name of the various gods and carried out employing extreme cultist views by deeply brainwashed sub-human mongrels.

  43. ThreeZeroSeven says

    @TIMED100

    Don’t presume to condescend to the LGBT community – “Ignorance of what are Christian values in relation to the LGBT community is understandable.” We’re not ignorant of what ‘Christian values’ means. It is obvious you are, though.

    Actually, Christians like you are too cheap and really just don’t care about the plight of LGBTs enough to go the distance dominant mainstream anti-gay Christianities do. If you “good” Christians cared to have a voice for LGBTs, you would. You certainly have the money for it, but you’d rather not. – “The crazies get all the media coverage.”
    Take your Not-All-Like-That nonsense elsewhere.

  44. simon says

    C’mon, folks. How dare anyone suggest the Catholic Church is not Christian. They are the only true Christians. They are direct descendants of Saint Peter and the Pope is the vicar of god. Any deviation from the Catholic teachings is pure heresy.

  45. shane says

    His STEPmother…

    – Matthew 10:10-12:
    When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

    – Mark 10:22:
    Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery.

    – Luke 16:18:
    Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery.

  46. JJ says

    “He befriended prostitutes and sinners but somehow hates gays?”

    Lots of people befriend prostitutes and sinners and hate gays. You really should think these things through more carefully, because if you get it wrong you’ll be tortured forever.

  47. TheTruthAboutThisFakeGay says

    Can faggots just kill themselves? They make us real bisexuals and gays look bad. This kid isn’t really gay. It’s obviously as hell as that he is seeking attention and possibly made a fake youtube video to make over 100k in revenue from idiots that still don’t know how to block ads on browsers.

  48. Bill says

    @ToThePoint @JackFknTwist : FYI an MRI was used to measure the parts of the brain that were active when people were asked (a) what they believed, (b) what God believed, and (c) what others believed. The results showed that what God believed always tracked what the person believed. That strongly suggests that religious beliefs track personal prejudices, not vice versa.

    You should note that what “God believed” according to some 19th century American “Christians” was that blacks are inferior and that slavery was justified. Very few people would claim that God believes that today.

    That suggests that religion is not so much the problem as the excuse. Since it is always the excuse, appeals to it should of course be ignored as it has been shown repeatedly to be unreliable, but it seems to be tracking prejudices more than instigating them.

    @JJ: the Bible describes the religious authorities when Jesus was alive (assuming he was a real person -even a street preacher – and not a composite) as “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” They wouldn’t have put that in the Bible if they were not intending do discount/answer what people were saying about their religious leader. If such rumors weren’t flying around, this would never be mentioned. If you believe that Jesus was a real person, you should also admit that he hung out with people marginalized by the “respectable” people of his time, and that he wasn’t exactly a prude.

  49. timed100 says

    THREEZEROSEVEN
    Have you heard of SoulForce? ELCA Lutherans? Episcopal? UCC? Can you tell me about their outreach and inclusion? I’m not rich and the churches like these are often struggling unlike the “Mega ” churches you hear about. One church in my neighborhood has a “Fabulous Friends” group that meets weekly. You seem to need a wider perspective on mainline Protestants. Oh, and I never said what my beliefs were (agnostic).

  50. Jake says

    People use God and religion to justify their hatred, that doesn’t make God and religion evil, it makes people evil. God established his laws and does not need man to enforce them. God will enforce and judge.

  51. Daftasabat says

    This is so opposite to the way I reacted when my son came out to me at 15, I just sat him down and said I loved him what ever sexual partner he wanted to be with and that it didn’t matter. The only thing I asked him to do was to always make sure he had safe sex who ever he was with and to always treat his partner with respect and love. It makes absolutely no difference to me as his mother who he sleeps with its none of my business or any one else as long as he keeps himself safe and does no harm to others or receives harm from them. I can not understand families like this they are more concerned with how others will think than the support and love of their son, shame on them

  52. ToThePoint says

    @bill. I have no beliefs or preconceptions regarding the unproven. Belief by definition is a thought process that belies FACT. Once it is fact, belief is not part of the concept. Therefore I know nothing exists beyond atomic structure (having physical properties). Conclusion: facts trump belief since belief can NEVER exist since no atomic structure. Religion = belief and this belief is used to judge and persecute. You can put that in your bible so you can justify beating the f*ck out of someone different than you.

  53. Frida says

    @Mike do you think any child is expected to act calm and respectful after his mother is treating him like he’s different from everyone else? I’m 19 years old and I’m stil living with my parents, most of us have jobs, go to college and have to pay bills, it’s not as easy as it seems. I’m sure he’s been miserable with that kind of “family” I’m sure if he could he would’ve moved out a long time ago.

    Daniel if by any chance you are reading these comments just know that I’m sorry that you had to go through that, but please know that you are here for a reason, and know you are amazing just the way you are.

  54. simon says

    The Bible as a whole says different things about Jesus in different parts. Depending on which part you are referring to, Jesus can be a nice gentle guy or he can be quite a jerk. In John, Jesus was a Republican. No love thy neighbor. He thrashed the moneychangers with a homemade scourge when chasing them from the temple. If you believe Paul speaks for Jesus, this Christian family is entitled to think they are following the teachings of Christ.

  55. Will says

    Good points Simon and there are others that have offered good advice and counsel. If this is authentic it probably isn’t far from the mark for some of us. The parents most likely knew there was something special about their little boy all along, but hoped one day he would grow out of it. Did you notice as things began to escalate both sides became very righteous? It’s hard to have a civil disagreement when both sides are backed into a corner. I think they all need time away from one another. This young man is very lucky in some respects. Perhaps with time they all can heal.

    Growing up where I did, in the “buckle” of the bible belt, I wonder sometimes if my parents were confronted as these folks were, what their reaction would have been. They were reasonable, educated and charming. But I’ll never know, because they’re both gone. I hope this hatefulness can come to a close before it’s too late.

  56. Bill says

    @ToThePoint : Data collected via an MRI scanner gives you facts – which parts of the brain are active. The experiment I described indicates that what religious people think “God” believes is what they themselves believe – a different part of the brain was active when they asked someone what others believed.

    In case you didn’t notice or don’t know, what the used nuclear magnetic resonance for was to measure oxygen usage in the brain. When the asked people what they believed, what “God” believed, and what others believed, they recorded what parts of the brain were using the most oxygen and were hence the most active.

  57. ToThePoint says

    @Bill. Those responses are only proof to me the level of brainwashing that takes place from birth. We are not born believing in anything as it is ALL taught. Religion and god are taught, hence hate, bigotry and judgment are all taught. We are born uncolored by society and only our innate senses are a given. Our personality, sexuality and even left-handedness are innate qualities that are NOT learned but within each of us. Has anyone asked these people who espouse a choice when they decided to be straight, self-righteous and just pure mean?

  58. Alex says

    As a Christian, it’s pretty disappointing to see, fake or real (gotta love the internet) yet another example of twisted values. I have a cousin in my family who is gay. Even though it’s believed by most of the family that Homosexuality is considered a sin, we still respect his opinion and the other more, ah, liberal, side of the family. We also still love him, as you always should. That IS what Tolerance is, respecting someone’s values despite the fact that you don’t agree with them. Unfortunately many people don’t seem to be able to grasp that nowadays

  59. says

    While I have quite a bit of sympathy for this guy, he was obviously itching for a fight, IMO. He got one and now he’s famous. His family displayed some restraint and he kept provoking them to get “good” footage. Neither side behaved well.

    I am also appalled at the narrow-mindedness and ignorance displayed in the comments. I am neither Christian nor from the South but I don’t paint either with the broad brush used here.

  60. Benny says

    Christians have been murdering gays for centuries. Christians today are behind every single anti gay legislation in this nation. NEVER stop calling out the Christian cult for it’s involvement in societal homophobia. They want to silence you from exposing them because it hurts their Christian Inc brand.

  61. Texan Dude says

    Religion is a cult that separates humanity. Religion is nothing short of a force that pins humanity against humanity and drives the human race against each other. John Lennon said it best when he asked we imagine a world without religion.

  62. Not Christian says

    F-ck all the gay Christians demanding respect for their religion, which has been instrumental in every homophobic incident in this country and through most parts of the world where Christian leaders enacted homophobia.

  63. legit says

    im gay and daniel was a little mouthy in the beginning of this video. his tone was aggressive and it ALWAYS escalates things even further. im not condoning the abuse, im just saying we must respect our parents (even when they are a**holes). and to do this, we must stay true to ourselves and stand on our (gay) beliefs but do it respectfully. and if moving out of the house is the best thing for everyone, then so be it. im sure he was tired of the BS going in the home and wanted a change… i’ve been there but i would never speak to my parents like that. i would hv quietly moved out of their house and would have not spoken with them for a very long time. one thing i know for sure is that the vast majority of us have gone through IT with our parents and it was ALWAYS a difficult conversation to have peacefully. blessings to all. TD

  64. Larry W. Jones says

    What terrible parents! Why are these parents and grandparents not in jail? A life well-lived will be this young man’s best revenge–but it will be one lived without ever seeing these cretins again. Their names and addresses should be all over the internet for the world to see.

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