"Me being gay is the main thing about me that they think ‘reflects negatively’ on them.” NO. The cold callous controlling way they are treating their talented son is the main thing that reflects negatively on them.
Donated. I hope that poor kid reaps the benefits of Dan's swarm of flying monkeys. And I hope he gets away forever from those pathetic shitbags who raised him.
"He can re-file as an independent person with no parents." -Lyndi Wright

No, unfortunately he cannot. That used to be the case, but the law was changed out of concern that billionaires' children would file as "independent." Now one can only file as independent if 25 or older, or in a level beyond undergrad.
As Hitchens stated it "...religion poisons EVERYTHING..."
Donated. It blows my mind that any parent would do this to their kid.
What really gets me is that they have a perfectly good reason not to support his college/career choice -- dancing is a hard profession to find paying work in, and a short-lived one -- but instead, they gotta go with "cuz you're gay." What a coupla morons. And I say this as a man with a teenage son.
@5 - your image/avatar is brilliant.
I'm not surprised. This almost happened to me at 17/18 before I graduated HS and came to Seattle for UW. My late dad found my porn that I accidentally left on the screen in 1997 and over the course of 7 months tried to make my life hell only to get put in his place by my mom who threatened to kick him out b/c he cheated on her two years prior. So she had the upper hand and made sure that I didn't get kicked out before heading to college. My dad eventually came around a couple of years later and surprised me later by supporting marriage equality thanks to Six Feet Under.
Recommended new last name: Getzbeter
I hope one day he realizes that not all parents deserve the love of their children.
Heartbreaking. Done, Dan. Let's get this kid through.
My cousin has a son who came out and she and her husband cut him off. He was not to come to their house, or have any contact with his younger siblings. The hypocrisy of it was overwhelming because cousin had him when she was in high school, and if her parents had been as intolerant as she and her husband are being, she would have been out on the street. Instead, they helped raise him while she finished school. Everything was fine until she met this jerk husband of her, and she joined his evangelical "unaffiliated" (i.e.Baptist) church.

Luckily, my Aunt (her mother) and my sister went to work on her, and it turns out that she does have a soul after all. She had felt guilty and conflicted, and is now coming around. Her husband is still being a jerk, but maybe this will get her to wake up and leave his sorry ass.
If his parents allow it voluntarily he can be legally emancipated prior to the 25 year age mark. If not, he could petition his local court for emancipation rights and be considered an independent adult as far as financial aid, health insurance etc. are concerned. I went through this process at age 17 1/2. Most judges would grant it if all of this story is true and he has those character witnessess.
It's like Footloose but gayer and more infuriating!
“They were worried what how people in the church would react to me being gay,” Joel said. “Our family is very involved in our church and has been for generations. And I tried to do it, all though middle school and high school, I tried to be straight, I prayed to be straight. But I couldn’t and it tore me up inside.”
This seems to be one of the main reasons parents kick our their gay children. Not the fact that the kid is gay per se-- the kid remains gay whether s/he is in or out-- but concern about how they will be perceived housing a gay child. Appearances.

And I wonder what it's like to care so little for your children that you would almost literally kick them to curb because of what the neighbors thought. Because here's my perspective: Fuck the neighbors, fuck the church, fuck the school, and fuck everyone in the entire shitty town. I am a grown-ass man, not some teenager pining for popularity, and I will happily endure ostracism over putting my own child on the street.
The whole phenomenon is so weird. I would die for my kids - and I've discovered as a parent that, although that phrase a cliche, it is not hyperbole - and I literally can't imagine throwing them out of the house for anything short of child molestation or unprovoked murder. The only thing I can think of that makes it even seem possible is a) they actually think this is a tough-love solution that can help "cure" him of homosexuality and b) they knew darn well he would find enough family and community support to get by, but their "point" would be made and would do him some good.

Even if both of those things are the case, they're still completely wrong, of course. But I'd like to think that's the active rationale in most cases like this, and that religion doesn't actually turn people into complete monsters.
It's been fun refreshing that fundraiser today. I wasn't able to give much and I know there are lots of other kids out there in need, but this young man has worked so hard. It's very gratifying that Dan can rally some support for him. Go Joel!
It always puzzles me when parents make the decision to hate their kids. It kind of seems a lot harder than just being decent parents and people. Why bother with all the extra hate baggage?
@15: This goes far beyond a tantrum. Reading Dan's account, Joel came out the first time when he was 12 and again when he was 17. In between he was subjected to all kinds of mental torture at his dirtbag parents' hands.

I understand that this poor Stockholm syndrome victim still cares about his tormentors, but they have exhausted any right to have any access to any aspect of his life at any time in the future. I hope he raises tons of GoFundMe $$ and socks away the excess for the extensive therapy he may need for any PTSD that may occur in the future.
@13: I have no who, between you and @3, is on the mark here.

But, assuming it's you: if Joel is going to such great lengths to keep his parents' names from being publicized — to the point of even changing his own surname at their request — it seems unlikely he'd be willing to name them in a public court proceeding.

I hope I'm wrong about that. And if I'm not, I hope someone who holds sway with him will convince him that his parents' needs aren't what's important here.
@ 17 - "But I'd like to think ... that religion doesn't actually turn people into complete monsters."

How many more examples do you need to admit that it does? The daily papers and the whole of history are full of them.

@22 - Well, it certainly does sometimes. I guess a better way to put it is... I'd like to think that religion doesn't always have the power to subvert people's naturally good instincts, such as parents' love for their children. i.e. that there'll always be at least some people who can resist it, no matter how culturally encouraged/enforced it might be.
I'm not crying, you're crying!!
@17: Yeah, I'd literally sacrifice my own life for my kids, which (IMO) is part of the job description. Better bad things happen to me than to them. Still, I can kinda understand being detached enough that you wouldn't take the bullet. What's incomprehensible to me is subjecting your children to the potential horrors of teenage homelessness because you're afraid of a cold shoulder.

Are they out of their fucking minds?!?
@21 It's not hard to figure out his birth surname with a few searches & FB scrolling. He could block and hide them if he really wanted to.
@ 23 - Yes, that's definitely a better way to put it. And I do think it does happen. But religion never makes anyone a better person, IMO; some naturally good people express their goodness through religion, but if they had grown up in atheists, they would have found other ways to express it anyway.
grown up atheists, not "in atheists"
Donated. I'm just so thankful this kid has so many supportive adults in that community that helped get him the heck out and set up for success. I've worked in a very limited capacity with YouthLink, which services a lot of homeless youth in Minneapolis (mostly LGBT). I wish they all could have campaigns to help them establish their lives.
Thanks Dan for spreading the word about this kid! Wish I could do more for him, it just makes me sick to see kids like him struggling because of bad parents!
Clicking "refresh" on the gofundme page and seeing the numbers go up is making me tearful. Not everyone who deserves or needs help gets it, but I'm so happy this kid is. Thank you, Dan, for taking the time to get the full story and help people support this kid.
Yay! It's over $17k now.
I've enjoyed refreshing the page too! Someone just gave 1000 bucks!!! Yay!
Dan, you did a phenomenal amount of due diligence on this one. Thank you!

I hope he's able to get legally emancipated so that his parents can't continue to fuck up his financial aid even after he's 18.
Oh my God, Rosie O'Donnell just donated $5,000 and thanked Dan for finding this story. And I do believe it's really her because her comment has no capitalization.
It was 5 years ago yesterday that Billy Lucas ended his life. 8 more would leave us that horrific September of 2010.

So thankful to those who helped Joel before things got THAT bad for him. Donation done.

Rest in Peace, Billy, Cody, Seth, Tyler, Asher, Harrison, Raymond, Felix, Caleb, .........
Just gave. Over $27,000 now.
Also so very grateful to Dan, Terry, and the It Gets Better Project!

An untold number of lives have been saved/enriched/helped by this brilliant and simple act of help, hope, love and defiance. Love you, Dan ♥
Thanks to your story Rosie O'Donnell donated $5000. Absolutely fantastic!

I hope Joel learns one day that his parents don't deserve the respect he's giving them. I could never imagine ever doing that to any of 6 kids.

Thanks so much bring him to the forefront
Hey Dan, You done good. Really good.

Hey Joel, go make an It Gets Better video. You are living proof.

Hey Flying Monkeys, Another mission success.
Over $30,000 now!

There will be times when Joel thinks about his parents and becomes depressed about the family who rejected him when he couldn't fit in the narrow mold they made for him. I hope he will also think about this crowd-funding campaign and all of the beautiful people who have helped, and find comfort in the thought that we can find love in the world and build our own families and communities, too.
Hey Joel, I suspect you might be reading these comments... As you can see, it DOES get better, and hopefully by now you know that there are a LOT of people pulling for you, and that care about you.

Many gay people have been through the family shit that you are going through and the good news is that now you get to build your own "family" amongst those that have earned it. Your biological parents may never earn it, and it's OK to put them into the closet, to gather dust while you enjoy the love and affection of your new family.

Now go get 'em tiger!
I am a proud Oklahoman who attends OCU productions often. Joel sounds like an incredible addition to the OCU family. My partner and I cannot wait to see him dance soon!
Added my little bit - it's almost $34,000 now. Maybe by the end of the day, he'll have enough to finish all four years at OCU. Good Luck, Joel!
This would break my heart if it didn't make me so fucking mad.

I'm remembering dropping my kids off at university for their first times - the pride, the fear, the love.... I can't fucking stand it. Joel's parents, if you read this - you might very well come around, and years from now be proudly part of your fine son's life. But you will never get back those moments that fear of what the neighbours might think deprived your family of. And I think that's just fine - you don't deserve them.
$35,377 now, raised by 615 people.
I want to apologize on behalf of all the normal, sane, non-religious homeschooling families out there. And even the religious homeschoolers who aren't bigoted asshats - believe it or not, they exist, too.

The venn diagram of religious conservativism and homeschooling has some overlap, but it doesn't *entirely* overlap.
Heartbreaking. I am so sorry that Joel's parents are failing him so miserably. And I hope that he finds his family of choice. He doesn't need their conditions and toxicity.

Aren't his parents on the hook for insurance until he's like 25? If Joel's getting Medicaid, the government should go after his parents to pay for it.

Better than reading the amount go up is reading the encouraging messages people are posting with their contributions. Btw, it's $38,525 from 719 donors now, at 7:27 pm PST.
Less than $700 to reach his goal now...
Bravo to mr Savage for all the due diligence. There ought to be a general fund for this sort of thing to which one could bequeath money. I entirely agree with Mr Ricardo about parents.
Holy shit, i'm sitting at the mecca, read this as I wasn't able to earlier and decided to pop over to the go fund me and teared up a little when I saw how fast it made it to the goal holy smoke, that's wonderful.
As of 11:55, the end of the night, the gofundme page has $41,390. Good job, everyone!

What an amazing and awful story. So heartening to scroll through these comments here on the next morning and see the Gofundme amount increasing as the day wore on, til it met the original goal, all thanks to Dan's post.

As someone else said, it is 5 years ago this month that It Gets Better was launched. Who knew that a potty mouthed sex advice columnist would end up making such a positive impact on the world.

Thank you, Dan.
And this, from the Gofundme page:

After discussing options of what Joel could do with potential funds that may exceed his undergraduate costs, one option stands out as an inspired and right path. With any extra funds, Joel has decided to form a scholarship or donate to an existing scholarship for other college-bound LGBT students who may be facing obstacles to their dreams simply because of their sexuality. Together, we can create a tidal wave of paying forward the heart-felt generosity and love that you are a part of! Let's do this!

His parents can't keep him from using his last name. He has every right to keep using it and to tell them to suck it up.
Not signing those forms was the right thing. Not because the kid is gay, but because nobody should take on debt to get a degree that will out certainly not be worth the money.

I'll donate to kids studying STEM. Or to Mike Rowe Works. This country doesn't need any more dancing gays. We need gays who can fill the jobs that need filling.

Or Mike Huckabee's ass. I'll donate to fill that too.
weird... the total amount of donations just dropped about $5000. How does that happen?
Please consider donating to the GSBA scholarship fund. It just celebrated 25 years and $2,000,000 of funding LGBTQ students from Washington state.
@58: I just clicked on the site and noticed the same thing. Or close to it--I hadn't checked the exact number. But at 6:00 in the morning the fund was over $42K and now at 12:20 it's at $38,870. What's going on?
Sounds like someone (or a bunch of people) backed out on their donation(s).
In the "high"s, the top donation is now $1000. I wonder if Rosie O'Donnell withdrew her $5000?
@62: Or if the person masquerading as Rosie O'Donnell did so.
Dan, have you run across the book "Hiding From Myself" yet? I thought about it as you recounted your emails with Joel's parents. Maybe one of the best books about being gay in a fundamentalist Christian culture. Heart-breaking, brave, ultimately freeing... I will never forget this book and have recommended it to many others.
I unfortunately don't have the means to donate right now. But I am happy to see that a fellow Michigander who is struggling has been provided help and hope by so many kind-hearted people! Should my circumstances change, I would be glad to donate (I'm currently on the verge of homelessness due to waiting on responses for disability & early retirement due to multiple physical & emotional health conditions).
Joel needs to reveal his last name publicly.
And his professional name? He should stick with "Joel"
Nice to know there are parents who love their kids this much. Tough love, a refusal to support unhealthy choices, is growing all too rare.

To this young man's parents in the inevitable witch hunt of calumny, lies and character assasination depraved people like Savage will gleefully start, go my best wishes.

I think the weight of peer research shows that his parents are damaging this young man by rejecting him.

You'd rather destroy the child. That's sad.

They're rejecting life and soul damaging choices he's made. Not him. They offered the conditions by which he could live in THEIR home. He rejected them. His choice.

The best analogy is to a drug addict. After the kid refuses to get treatment but insists on a lifestyle that puts the safety and security of your home in jeopardy, it can be love to ask them to move.
@73: Ah, the eternal question: How exactly does being queer damage one's body, mind, or soul?
College tuition is too damn much regardless of orientation or creed in this country.
I too am a Conservative Christian Republican father. I have a gay 15 year old teen son. When my son came out at 13 there things my wife and I had to work through. One thing I say that made it sink in is that God gave us three beautiful children and one is gay. He is loved and accepted and we are there for him. It bothers me that so many Christian parents cannot realize that having a gay child is not wrong and that they still need to be loved and guided just like our straight children. I hope Joel will find peace and go on with his life and not be bitter towards his parents or Christ. I would say to mom and dad, that throwing your son out who is a minor simply for being gay is really an abomination.
SB, it is nothing like being a drug addict. Why are you so thick in the head?
Homosexuality is not a choice.
His parents , like you, are ignorant morons. Putting fear of the unknown Before love.
There is a simple solution to this problem:

Please wait...

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