QUEER VOICES
10/04/2015 08:36 am ET

One Year Later, Gay Teen Reflects On Family's Horrifyingly Violent Reaction To Coming Out

"I feel like I saw this on the news about someone else."

One year after a disturbing video documenting a family's reaction to a gay man's coming out went viral, the victim on the receiving end of this hate is reflecting on the experience.

In September 2014, then 20-year-old Daniel Pierce posted a video on YouTube that showed a violent and upsetting five minutes in which Pierce's family disowned their child and told him that sexuality is a choice, using religion as an argument. It took place in Georgia during what Pierce described as a "delayed intervention" involving his father, stepmother and grandparents.

A local news outlet in Atlanta caught up with the now 21-year-old Pierce last week to discuss the aftermath of the horrifying video and how his life has changed since the incident.

"I feel like I'm talking about someone else," Pierce said about the coming out experience. "I feel like I saw this on the news about someone else."

In the weeks after the video went viral, Pierce's boyfriend set up a GoFundMe page for Pierce that raised almost $100,000. According to his interview with WXIA Atlanta, the money went towards Pierce's medical expenses after his family cut off his access to insurance, and served as donations to Lost-n-Found Youth, a shelter for homeless queer youth, which has, according to Pierce, reportedly seen an influx of kids needing assistance over the past year. 

“We got a huge wave of kids [using the shelter] because gay marriage got passed, and they had the guts to come out," Pierce continued. "They told their family. That night I lost five family members. I gained hundreds of thousands of people that are just like ’We love you.’ People I will never meet.”

Did you miss the original video documenting Pierce's coming out? You can check it out below but be warned that it contains graphic language and may be disturbing. 

Want to do more to help homeless queer youth? Sign a petition here

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