A 20-year-old college student in Kennesaw, Georgia recorded a violent, anti-gay “intervention” that his family conducted, video of which has gone viral, netting more than 2 million views on YouTube and pulling in donations and messages of support from all over the world.
Daniel Ashley Pierce told Huffington Post Thursday that he came out to his family in October of 2013, but that on Wednesday, his father, stepmother, mother and grandparents assembled in his father’s house to disown him and cut off all support if he refused to submit to religious counseling, so-called “pray away the gay” therapy.
Pierce said that he recorded the family meeting because, “I wanted to make sure there was evidence in case something happened.”
“Pierce’s video began going viral,” wrote Cavan Sieczkowski, “after it was posted by Dan Savage with Seattle’s The Stranger. In the five-minute clip, which does not focus on any individual’s face, the people in the room with Pierce can be heard telling him his sexuality is a choice. When he disputes that, they use religion as an argument.”
Things quickly get heated.
“You can deny it all you want to,” says Pierce’s stepmother, “but I believe in the word of God, and God creates nobody that way. It’s a path that you have chosen to choose.”
Pierce tries to explain that science has proven that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an innate quality.
“Scientific proof trumps the ‘word of God,'” he says.
“You go by all the scientific stuff you want to,” she replies. “I’m going by the word of God.”
When Pierce refuses to back down, his family members attack him, punching and slapping him. They call him a “little piece of shit,” a “damn queer” and a “disgrace.”
“What is wrong with you people?” Pierce asks after one bout of physical violence.
“What’s wrong with you?” they scream back.
The recording of the nightmarish confrontation has gone viral. Pierce’s boyfriend set him up a Go Fund Me account to try to raise $2,000 for Pierce to live on while he finds a place to live. By 9:30 A.M. on Friday, well-wishers had donated more than $53,000.
In a note at the Go Fund Me site, Pierce wrote, “Oh My you guys! I am in tears! I didn’t realize that this was even set up for me! I am so thankful for all the comments, support and donations! I don’t even know how to thank y’all! I wish I could give each and everyone of you a huge hug! I was trying to respond to everyone but I couldn’t keep up!! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! This is all just so amazing!!!”
“Thank You from the bottom of my heart!!” he said.
Watch the video, embedded below via YouTube:
WARNING: CONTENT MAY BE UPSETTING AND DISTURBING TO SOME LISTENERS
[image of Daniel Pierce via Facebook.com]