Georgia gay teen attacked by family

KENNESAW, Ga. (WXIA) -- At age 19, Daniel Pierce just had a feeling something bad was coming when his family suddenly began talking to him about coming out.

"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.

From there, more than 3 million views on YouTube(Warning: video contains profanity and sensitive material) in just a few days. Television networks, websites and social media sites around the globe have published it. That Georgia teenager talked only to 11Alive's Jeremy Campbell about why he record the video.

"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 hopes by seeing that video his family will realize what they lost. He says he came out last October and he believed his stepmother was supportive when he did. Something changed months later.

He says his father, grandparents, step-mother and her sister gathered at their home for what he describes as a "pray the gay away" intervention.

"It was something that built over time," he said. Pierce said he did not ambush them with the news and then record it.

A close friend posted the actual video on YouTube. Pierce's boyfriend started a GoFundMe account to raise money for living expenses after he was told to leave the house.

"When you watch the video and then you hear what my blood relatives said, and then you look at the comments (online)… it was just crazy," he said.

Pierce feels overwhelmed by the entire situation. He says he is still trying to process everything and has some counseling sessions set up. He is not alone, and is staying in the care with a friend he considers "chosen family."

That GoFundMe account has raised more than $88,000 in just two days. He hoped for $2,000. Pierce is now asking that future donations go to the Lost-N-Found Youth charity.

Organizers of that charity were among the first to share the video and have offered Pierce support. They say about half of Georgia family members react negatively when loved ones "come out." That is higher than the national average of 43% who do not accept gay children when they come out.

The organization provides housing and help finding jobs. They can be reached at

As for Pierce, he was born in Kennesaw and plans to stay there, where he works at a local pet store. He won't be living with his parents again.

However he says he is "definitely not alone."


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