A gay Georgia teen who was kicked out of his home because of his sexuality received an outpouring of support and donations. He's now paying it forward.
Daniel Ashley Pierce came out as gay in 2013, but was kicked out of his home last month following a "delayed intervention" with his Christian parents and grandparents. During the intervention, Pierce was told homosexuality is a choice and "God creates nobody that way." The encounter, which was verbally abusive and ultimately turned violent, was all caught on video.
The video wound up going viral and Pierce received more than $90,000 in donations via a GoFundMe campaign for living expenses.
Now, Pierce is encouraging donors to send their money to Atlanta's Lost-n-Found, a nonprofit agency created in 2011 with the mission to assist homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth. Lost-n-Found plans to convert a house into a homeless center for gay teens by the spring of 2015, according to Atlanta's CBS46.
Executive Director Rick Westbrook told the network Pierce contacted the group to offer the funds.
"I would say we're right at $10,000 [through Pierce donations]," Westbrook said. "Daniel is an incredibly bright and courageous young man. He is the epitome of who Lost n' Found is here to serve."
Pierce wrote about his decision to divert funds on the GoFundMe page.
"This has been a rough time for me and I never imagined that so many people would show such overwhelming compassion and generosity," he said. "It’s important for all of you to know that right now, what I need most is time to think and work through the next steps in my life. I have been working closely with Atlanta-based Lost-n-Found Youth to help figure out what’s next for me. Right now, I’m safe and definitely feel your love all around me. Thank you!"
Lost-n-Found reports that, of the youth they have worked with, 53 percent had nowhere to turn after being kicked out of their homes. Approximately 40 percent of homeless youth nationwide identifies as LGBTQ. Additionally, "there are only about 48 hours from the time a kid becomes homeless before 33 percent of youth begin to engage in risky behaviors as theft, drug activity or selling their bodies for money to survive," per a press release.