Georgia Teen Speaks Out About His Family’s Horrific ‘Pray the Gay Away’ Intervention: VIDEO


Yesterday, we posted a disturbing video of Daniel Pierce recording his family's heartbreaking rejection of the Georgia teen because of his sexual orientation. In the three days since the footage has been uploaded to YouTube, the video has amassed over 3 million views and a GoFundMe page set up to support Daniel has raised over $90,000. 

Speaking to Atlanta's 11Alive NBC station, Daniel shared more information about his parents' reaction – revealing that he had actually came out last October and that the video footage was of his father, grandparents, step-mother and her sister staging a "pray the gay away" intervention on his behalf. 

Pierce2"I thought for myself, for my own protection if something were to happen it would be best to have it on video. I just hit record. I just hit camera and hit record. I just know that I did it for my protection and it kind of all went from there, and the video really speaks for itself," Pierce said. […]

"What I hope people take away from watching that is it still happens. A lot of people don't realize that it happens. They see all the positive videos and the negative video never gets seen so if one family maybe watches it and maybe changes their mind in how they are going to handle it about their son or daughter coming out, one family and I will be happy. I want to education people on the issue because it is something going on," Pierce said.

Pierce said he has had no contact with his parents since that moment caught on video. He says, "the ball is in their court" and he "has so much support from other avenues," he doesn't need it.

"The video was not posted for people to attack them. I wouldn't want it to happen to me. I wouldn't want it to happen to them. They are still my family and they are in my heart but what happened in that video is very hurtful," he said.

Pierce also spoke about the help he's received from LGBT support groups such as Lost-N-Found Youth and his plans to donate a portion of the $90,000 raised to help support gay teens in similar situations.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP…(warning: autoplay)


  1. says

    For some reason I can’t see the video but he is right, some parents/families are overwhelmingly hostile whether it is brut force or choosing to disown a child. Must be horrible to think your own family has turned their back on you. I hope he uses the money to improve his lot in life, go on to college and seek a good career. That’s the best thing he could do for himself.

  2. Honesty says

    He definitely needs to share some of that money donated to him, because he’s right, this happens all the time to teens when they come out to their families – they are attacked, physically and emotionally, and kicked out of the house. That’s why such a LARGE percentage of homeless teens are LGBT. Very sad.

  3. Will says

    I guess you could say that Rochon… if you’re a complete idiot and making conclusions about stuff that isn’t there. What makes you think he did it ‘for the money’? Maybe he did, but there’s o proof of that in any of this.

  4. says

    the reality is that if one removes the “gay issue” – this is still a toxic family. many people, for many reasons, end up being better off in life when they remove themselves from being around toxic family members, and don’t look back.

    for those with the integrity to learn and grow – there are resources like PFLAG. but there are many people in this world whose bigotry and hatred is all they have left to hold onto. and so they’ll hold onto it.

    yes. it’s staggering that this still happens. i have so many friends who were in situations just like this – and in some cases far worse – and the reality is that walking away from their “families” was the best move they ever made. it’s cutting cancer out of your life.

    may the family featured in this video experience a WORLD of shame. and from that, truly, i hope they grow and realize what a negative blot on this world they are. and change that.

    i’ve seen parents go from wanting nothing to do with their LGBT kids to marching in the pride parades in support of them.
    i’ve also seen LGBT kids go from forgiving their parent’s bigoted intolerance, to never caring if they ever hear from them ever again.

    no amount of prayer will make a person straight. but a few PFLAG meetings will make an anti-gay parent much more aware of what it means to actually love your children.

    to this young man, your Chosen Family loves you. you are not alone.

  5. Tom Cardellino says

    I have to say that I agree with Cary Chauvet. While I understand the reasoning behind some of the calls (sounding more like peer pressure demands) for him to re-donate a sizable portion of those donations made to him as a penniless, uneducated, lone teen (of course, Derrick, at the time of his becoming brutalized and homeless) would be better able to truly help many other LGBTI teens by learning the skills to become gainfully employed and possibly educated as an agent for social change. It’s cruel, I think, to guilt trip a person who has actually had to restart his life from scratch in his teenage years. It’s akin to the old adage about giving someone a fish rather than teaching them to fish. Someday, I believe from what I’ve seen and read about this young man so far, that he’ll be teaching a lot of people how to nourish themselves on their own terms in the face of horrific bigotry.

  6. Gigi says

    Wow, you are insufferable Tom Cardellino. He only received this money in the last 48 hours. Everything that has happened has gone down in the last 72 hours. He doesn’t need to satisfy your moral judgments and on your timetable. He can keep all the money if he wants to. It’s his money, not yours.

    You don’t like that he got 100K – probably something closer to 65K after website fee, credit card fees, and taxes – while other homeless youth get no help? Well, that is the nature of crowdfunding. One lone bullied bus monitor gets a retirement fund while the bus monitor on the next shift who is bullied in the same manner gets nothing because in one case there was a viral video and in the next there wasn’t. If you don’t like that, do something about it. But don’t post comments purporting to tell this guy what he has to do with his money to please you.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    I wish young Daniel the best future possible. As I said yesterday– listening to the audio recording of his being verbally brutalized–he is a brave young man.

    I was not as brave, and in tears when my mother spoke to me the way Daniel’s stepmother spoke to him…and my mother did. Oh, yes, I remember.

    LOL One time she was telling me how ashamed she was to have F.GGOT for a son. Well, I had Billie Holiday’s version “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” blasting on my stereo. My mother got so angry she yelled, “Cut that sh!t off!”

    Now, were friends…as long as I contribute funds to her lottery playing. LOL

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “He already bought a car with it?……Nice…”

    So, what? Now, he can drive the fvck away from his awful parents to whatever univeristy/college he chooses to attend.

    My God, it’s meaner on Saturdays– here on Towleroad than it is on weekdays. Don’t y’all b1tches have liquor stores where you all live?

  9. Tom Cardellino says

    Gigi, you evidently could use some donations to send you back to grade school to learn how to read. You missed my point by a few miles and I think it’s because you are so mean-spirited you see what you want to see as bad because you’re an insufferable boor. That’s the last time I’ll waste any typing on you, now officially recognized as a troll of the first degree (and stupid, to boot, preacher man.)

  10. Christopher says

    Part of our quest for equality must include criminal penalties for parents who mistreat and abandon their gay children. This is a subject which receives little attention in the gay or mainstream press. Kudos to Miley Cyrus for yielding her MTV VMA acceptance speech time to the homeless young man who did an admirable job of voicing attention to homeless youth, a segment of the population which is growing larger each day.

  11. anon says

    If your family is not worthy of respect, there’s no reason to come out to them and exposure yourself to abuse or ridicule or neglect. Wait for some financial independence. You don’t owe them any honesty if they’re abusive.

  12. Buckie says

    He’s not a “teen”.

    He does not need 90k. He isn’t the first person to be kicked out of his parents house.

    It’s ridiculous to send him money when near half of all homeless kids (REAL kids, not 20-year-olds) in the US are GLBT.

    And the way GLBT kids in foster care are treated is just horrible.

    But go ahead and give him money if it makes you feel like you’re doing something so amazing.

  13. Billy says

    @Buckie I agree. Way too many homeless TEENS that could use the help, instead of a grown man. But if that’s the LGBT cause people want to donate to, so be it.

  14. j says

    he needs to take some of that loot and buy a better sweater – what is that he is wearing
    that aside he’s cute in a goobery sort of way –
    take off those glass and tousle that hair

    kid knows a thing or two about raising money
    he’s got a future in philanthropy

  15. MickyFlip says

    I love how his mother says she always knew he was gay yet still claims it’s a choice. As if he should have known better since the day he was born.

    Whacko family. I applaud him for leaving. It’s nice to see he’s got a good start with some donated funds. I have a feeling he will use it wisely and stand behind his word to use it to help others in same situation as his. I wish him all the best. As for his family, since their such god-fearing christians. They should start praying for themselves because they are now in the spotlight of the eyes of the world. And the world is responding.

  16. johnnykibler says

    People are reacting to the horrific situation that this young man is dealing with and their decision to support him financially is quite frankly between this young man and those individuals. At a time when a community should come together to support someone who has been horribly abused, instead it seems the majority of comments are about money and the “morality” of its uses and whether or not he “deserves” the chance to begin his life again. Most of the “hateful” comments being posted sound very much like the “family” in the video. It’s almost as if, through these comments, he’s having to re-experience the abuse he’s felt at the hands of his family. He deserves better. He deserves support and comfort and the chance to rebuild his life. Social media can sometimes be the cruelest of the anonymity to reach out to damage and malign and abuse. I wish you only the hopefulness of the future, my GA friend.

  17. oncemorewithfeeling says

    A valiant effort by the few non-trolls, but I call this comments section as yet another decisive victory for the home team, the trolls of Trollroad!

  18. Ryan says

    Uh Oh the queer (aka tranny and bi community) are angry this amazing boy is getting donations and they are living on the streets because they (trannies and bisexuals) are often drug addicts and do NOTHING for gay people but always demand money in return. I’ll gladly donate to this wonderful boy. The radical queer segment of our community can help the druggies (aka trannies and bisexuals)

  19. Mikey says

    He’s adorable. He deserves every penny. And to the trolls on here, I just donated $400 to him. Let it drive you nuts. See what trolling does. It makes us support the very person you resent. He’s now $400 richer thanks to my donation.

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