Gay Dad Describes Homophobe's Terrifying Attack on His Family

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday April 18, 2022
Originally published on April 14, 2022

Robbie, his husband, and their son
Robbie, his husband, and their son  (Source:Robbie Pierce)

A gay dad took to Twitter to describe the vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric a stranger accosted him and his family with on an Amtrak train, and the way the encounter traumatized his children.

The furious father also detailed how the stranger had accosted his 6-year-old son in the restroom.

Robbie Pierce, his husband, and their kids were en route to enjoy a family holiday when the stranger suddenly appeared near their seats and began screaming at them, according to a thread Pierce posted.

Addressing the couple's 6-year-old boy, the stranger shouted, "Remember what I told you. They stole you. They're pedophiles," Pierce recounted.

Pierce described how his fatherly instincts took over, propelling him as he placed himself between his small children and the aggressor.

Noting that his son's "life has already been so hard" and how the boy "carries traumas larger than his whole small, fierce frame," Pierce related that he told the intruder, "Get away from my family."

But the hate-filled harangue continued.

"Family!? That's not a family!" the verbal assailant shouted, according to Pierce's recollection. "You're rapists. You steal black & Asian kids."

"My son and my 5yo daughter were both now openly crying, petrified," Pierce related. But the attacker kept right on terrifying the children, screaming at them, "These guys aren't natural. Homosexuals are an abomination. They steal and rape kids."

Pierce drew a direct link between the stranger's hideous tirade and the legislative attacks that GOP state lawmakers across the country have launched, targeting LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

"We all know where that comes from," Pierce posted. "So thanks to Fox & Murdoch, JK Rowling & Marjorie Taylor Green, to the senators & priests & everyone else who harms kids & thinks it's politically expedient to project onto gentle families like mine to stir up their lucrative culture war."

The successful efforts of Florida lawmakers to pass the "Don't Say Gay" law, which criminalizes classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ issues, has spawned a strategy in which supporters of anti-gay bills smear anyone who objects to such laws as "pedophiles" who "groom" children.

"We've dealt with this brand of terrifying homophobic stranger before with our son," Pierce detailed. "But 'pedophiles' and 'rapists' were new in the mix, at least out loud."

Speaking to Buzzfeed about the ordeal, Pierce noted how the attacker "just seemed like he came preloaded with catch phrases from Fox News or DeSantis, or whoever was out there."

Pierce and his husband coordinated efforts to protect their children; as his husband "shouted the man away from us," Pierce shepherded the kids away from the danger and into another train car.

The attacker "lost his focus on us" when a conductor showed up to intervene, Pierce recounted, going on to add that the terrified children "cried for almost an hour."

The trauma wasn't resolved so quickly, though. Pierce told the New Civil Rights Movement that the children were so deeply upset that they "woke up crying" in the night, and at "4:30 in the morning, the two dads' 6-year-old boy started to throw up."

Pierce documented one of the most horrifying details of the entire ordeal: The way the man accosted their son when the boy went to the restroom.

"Yet *we're* the groomers," the appalled family man wrote in exasperation.

Near the end of his thread, Pierce posted that the children "asked if we'll see that man again & I said probably not him, but men just like him. But we'll be stronger each time. And most people aren't like that guy. I hope this was true."

"Please help us protect our families, friends," Pierce added. "We feel so outnumbered & tired" — ending with a broken heart emoji.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.