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Gay dad has the perfect response to a 7-year-old child who called gay people 'the devil'

“I'm sorry but if you teach your kids to hate I'm going to teach them to disobey you."

A child looks really upset on a playground.

Robbie Pierce, his husband, Neal Broverman and their two young children were traveling on an Amtrak train in California in 2022 when they were harassed by a fellow passenger at a stop in San Jose.

Broverman is the editorial director for print media at Pride, The Advocate's parent company,

"All of a sudden, there was a man standing there next to me," Pierce told The Advocate. The man told their son, "Remember what I told you earlier. They stole you and they're pedophiles," Pierce recounts. The man also said that gay people are abominations.

The police were called and the man was thrown off the train, but the incident was a frightening reminder that gay families could be the target of bigots, even in liberal Northern California. "It's a new level of homophobia out there," Pierce added.

Seven months later, Pierce’s son was the victim of harassment, this time from a child at a park. "A random unattended 7-year-old at the park told me and my son that gay people are the devil,” he recounted in a viral X thread. "My son scoffed, but the boy said it was true because God said so."


Pierce reacted to the boy’s hatred — which he probably learned at home — with his own lesson. “I told him parents made up God to make their Kids do what they want. His eyes got so big,” he wrote on X.

Addressing complex issues like religion and sexuality with a young child, who’s a stranger, is a tricky needle to thread, so Pierce admits he had some reservations about his response. But he stands by his decision.

“I'm sorry but if you teach your kids to hate I'm going to teach them to disobey you," he wrote on X.

As someone who has been harassed by religious, homophobic people in the past, Pierce took the opportunity to help steer a young child away from hatred. At the age of 7, most children believe whatever their parents tell them. However, Pierce planted a seed in the child’s mind that may one day encourage him to challenge his indoctrination when he gets older.

The vast majority of commenters on X agreed with Pierce’s response to the child’s comment.

However, some people thought Pierce’s response to the child was inappropriate.

No matter how one feels about Pierce’s reaction, what’s clear is that there is something very inappropriate about a 7-year-old child openly harassing LGBTQ families. The unfortunate problem is that this type of hyper-religious upbringing can cause lasting emotional and psychological trauma to a child. And it’s a common problem. A recent study in the growing field of religious trauma found that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from trauma related to religion at some point in their life.

While we might be quick to dismiss the child’s behavior as innocent or simply as a symptom of growing up in a religious household, the more we learn about religious trauma, the more these children appear to be the victims of abuse.

Pennsylvania lawmakers voted to erase "homosexuality" from state criminal codes.

Despite major strides in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, there is always something else to fight for. Sometimes, it's creating new changes to make things a little bit safer for people. But sometimes, it's about looking back in the past and seeing how existing laws and beliefs could still harm people. Changing the way we talk about members of the community is one of the easiest ways to reduce harm, and it looks like politicians in Pennsylvania have realized that.

Recently, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to erase the word "homosexuality" from the definition of prohibited acts in the state's Crimes Code. The Associated Press reported a unanimous 198-0 vote was on a bill to clean up outdated language, because, as the supporters of the change rightfully pointed out, it's not a crime to be gay.

“This bill provides a long overdue update to our crimes code to ensure nobody is prosecuted because of who they love,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), as reported by the Associated Press.


Stephens introduced the bill in November 2021 intending to "remove references to the term "homosexuality" within definitions of prohibited sexual acts within state law," according to an article from Patch.

"The usage of this term in the definitions of 'sexual activity' and 'sexual conduct' in Sections 5902 (relating to prostitution) and 5903 (relating to child pornography), respectively, serves no purpose as homosexual acts, in and of themselves, do not constitute a criminal offense," Stephens wrote in a co-sponsorship memo.

It is important to point out the significance of sodomy laws in the United States. Though they existed for basically as long as the country has, for much of the 19th and 20th centuries they were used specifically to target members of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is especially true regarding cisgender gay men and trans women. The use of sodomy laws against the LGBTQIA+ community became prominent (to the point where several states rewrote their laws to specifically target the community) in the late 1960s/early 1970s as the gay rights movement began to grow and take shape.

In a place like Pennsylvania, while the laws weren't rewritten to explicitly target gay people, those in charge targeted only gay people. Many of these laws don't exist anymore, but remnants of them still remain. That's why this language change in Pennsylvania is so important. It legitimizes the LGBTQ+ community lawfully, even though they will still face discrimination and unfair treatment via the law. But changing that language gives people a stronger case when they have to fight back.

Rep. Dan Frankel, a Democrat from Allegheny County, has been fighting for a long time to expand nondiscrimination protections to the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Associated Press, he said the language of the current law is “cruel and absurd” and urged his fellow lawmakers to make moves regarding anti-discrimination legislation.

“In this General Assembly, sadly, it’s a huge lift to merely agree that being gay shouldn’t be illegal,” said Frankel.

The current bill cuts "homosexuality" from a section on “obscene and other sexual materials and performances" by removing it from the definition of sexual conduct, per AP.

Frankel isn't the only one who thinks these laws are not only archaic, but also unfair. Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) points out that these current laws openly discriminate and keep people from holding down jobs, owning homes or having families “simply because of who they are and who they love.”

“I hope that we have these same votes for enshrining nondiscrimination protections, which we sorely need to do,” Kenyatta said.

Hopefully, this leads to more positive change, not just in Pennsylvania, but in other places where such language still likely exists.

Image collage via Wikicommons

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new plan to combat homelessness amongst the transgender community

Home is somewhere to lay your head down at night without worry that someone will steal all of your worldly possessions. Home is where people start families and make lifelong memories. Having a place to go home to every night is safety. Safety from the elements and safety from other people who may mean you harm.

And there's almost nothing more quintessentially American than owning a home. Yet, the reality is America does poorly with keeping people housed. Homelessness is a growing problem across the country, especially with the lack of affordable housing and wages that don’t always meet the minimum basic needs.

And the rates of homelessness among transgender people are higher than average with 8% of trans adults experiencing homelessness compared to 1% of cisgender straight adults, according to UCLA School of Law Williams Institute.

To help remedy the problem in her city, the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, announced a plan to allocate $6.5 million toward an initiative to end homelessness of transgender people in the city.


The multiyear plan would see an end to trans homelessness by 2027. Transgender people face more discrimination, including when securing housing, than their cisgender counterparts. While this is unfair, it’s not particularly surprising when you consider the legislation around what bathrooms trans people can use. It’s not a far reach to assume they likely have difficulty finding a homeless shelter that will accept them based on their identified gender. Safety would also be a large component even if there was no discrimination in sheltering trans individuals.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

"Transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming San Franciscans are 18 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to the general population, and we know that the rates are even higher for our minority trans communities," Breed said in a statement. "With one of the largest TGNC populations in the country, we not only must ensure that all San Franciscans have access to housing and essential resources through continued investments, but we can show the country that we continue to be a leader on supporting and protecting our trans communities."

America has not been kind to gender nonconforming people, especially people that identify as trans. It almost seems like it's acceptable to treat transgender people poorly. It needs to stop. If we are silent when injustice is present, our silence is the loudest voice in the room.

Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

Breed’s proposed plan would include at least 150 long-term housing subsidies through the city's already established Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool program. It would also fund short-term rental subsidies, flexible financial assistance and support to build the capacity of nonprofits serving transgender and gender nonconforming people. The budget plan is extensive and will include planning for housing for LGBTQ youth who are at a transitional age.

Housing should not be reserved for those who society deems appropriate based on lack of knowledge and biases. Transgender people who are experiencing homelessness deserve a place to call home just as much as the next person. It’s not clear if this announcement was timed just in time for Pride Month, but it sure feels fitting.

India's Royal Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil.

Conversion therapy has been a hot topic for a while now with the LGBTQ+ community calling out the harm it has caused. Twenty states and more than 100 municipalities have banned conversion therapy in the United States, but no nationwide ban has happened as of yet. In India, conversion therapy is still an accepted form of therapy, and though there is evidence that it exacerbates symptoms of depression, shame, addiction, self harm and suicidal tenancies, being gay was outlawed in the country until 2018, and conversion therapy is considered treatment.

Royal Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay prince, is continuing his fight to ban conversion therapy in India. In 2006, the prince made history at the age of 41 by coming out as gay. The decision to come out was immediately condemned due to his position and the fact that India had recently disregarded its outdated law, which used to be punishable by a lifetime in prison. Singh Gohil told Insider that people burned him in effigy. “The day I came out, my effigies were burnt. There were a lot of protests, people took to the streets and shouted slogans saying that I brought shame and humiliation to the royal family and to the culture of India,” he said. “There were death threats and demands that I be stripped of of my title.”


The prince is the 39th direct descendent of the Gohil Rajput dynasty and dedicates his time to supporting LGBTQ+ causes and providing education around LGBTQ+ issues. He blames ignorance around LGBTQ+ people for the way others reacted when he came out as gay. Despite homophobic attitudes and being rejected by his parents, the prince continues to advocate for the queer community in India.

In fact, Singh Gohil is so dedicated to pushing forward education and protection of the LGBTQ+ community that in 2018 he opened up his 15-acre palace grounds to become an LGBTQ+ center. He also launched Lakshya Trust 20 years ago, which is a community-led charity that focuses on education around sexual tolerance, gender equity, HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ+ community. Some may find it surprising that a prince in a country where homosexuality was banned until recently would be such a fierce advocate for queer rights. To Singh Gohil, this has been a long battle starting years before he came out publicly.

The prince revealed to Insider that he was once subjected to conversion therapy due to his family’s dismissal of the idea that he could be homosexual. He said, “They approached doctors to operate on my brain to make me straight and subjected me to electroshock treatments.” Singh Gohli was eventually sent to religious leaders in an effort to help him “behave normally” after conversion therapy was unsuccessful.

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The prince plans to keep advocating for the queer community, saying, “It’s important for people like me who have a certain reputation in society to continue the advocacy. We can’t just stop because the country repealed Section 377,” he explained. “Now we have to fight for issues like same-sex marriage, right to inheritance, right to adoption. It’s a never-ending cycle. I have to keep fighting.”

It's amazing to see such an important person not only be a member of the LGBTQ+ community in India but to openly advocate for it. The fight for equality is not easily won, but having royalty on your side has to be a boost to the cause for the queer people of India.