When 19-year-old Georgia native Daniel Pierce came out as gay to his family, he was prepared for the worst. He set up a recording device during a “pray the gay away” intervention from his relatives, which quickly became hostile. In Pierce’s widely viewed YouTube video, you can hear the physical and verbal abused hurled by his family as they rejected the teenager. It’s a difficult, harrowing thing to watch. “You’re a disgrace,” his father tells Pierce before throwing him out of his home.
Luckily, Pierce’s supportive aunt took him away from the fraught situation and sheltered him in Atlanta. And now, the Internet has come to the teenager’s rescue. Pierce’s boyfriend set up a crowdfunding page for him on GoFundMe, hoping to raise just $2,000 for living expenses and college tuition.
But the crowdfunding public far exceeded their imagination. As of today, the site has raised almost $100,000 for Pierce’s circumstances, ensuring that he can cover his college expenses despite being financially cut off from his family.
“This has been a rough time for me, and I never imagined that so many people would show such overwhelming compassion and generosity,” Pierce wrote on the page. He asked friends to discontinue funding his own cause, and instead donate to Lost-n-Found youth, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless LGBT community.
“What I hope people take away from watching [the video] is that this still happens,” Pierce told a local news station. “A lot of people don’t realize that it happens. They see all the positive videos and the negative ones never get seen, so if one family maybe watches it and maybe changes their mind on how they are going to handle their son or daughter coming out, I will be happy.”
Featured image via WXIA-TV WXIA-TV