In response to a disturbing video of a young man’s family disowning him after he announced he was gay, the internet rallied together to raise $93,765 in living expenses for the 20-year-old.
Daniel Ashley Pierce was kicked out of his home and told by family members that they would no longer provide for him because he “made the choice” to be gay.
In a note posted on the fundraising page Thursday, Pierce extended his gratitude to those who lent their support. “I didn’t realize that this was even set up for me!” he wrote. “I don’t even know how to thank y’all! I wish I could give each and everyone of you a huge hug!”
In the video, which has since gone viral, religious conviction fuels the family’s disapproval of Pierce. One member can be heard telling Pierce over and over again that he has made the choice to be gay because “God creates nobody that way.” Someone else can be heard saying they have “a lot of friends that are gay, but they’re friends — they’re not related to me.” And later in the video, a man identified as his father tells him he’s a disgrace.
“Unfortunately I’m sorry to say, but you are,” the man says.
The video gets even more disturbing when a family member physically attacks Pierce in frustration.
But thanks to more than 3,500 donors, Pierce has money to live on his own and supportive words from strangers that far outweigh the hate and confusion of his family members’ rants.
ThinkProgress rounded up a few encouraging statements from donors:
- “God loves you, just as you are.”
- “The best thing you can do is make a break and surround yourself by a new ‘chosen’ family of friends that love and support you.”
- “You should be proud of yourself for standing your grand and being proud of the WAY YOU WERE BORN.”
- “You are not alone in the world — there are many good people watching out for you.”
- “You are a precious, brave person, Daniel. I’m so sorry your family can’t see that. But know that millions of us out here love and support you and others who bravely own their truth.”
Pierce is currently living with friends and is now asking that future donations go to the Lost-N-Found Youth charity.
SOURCE: ThinkProgress | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube