Child abused by family for ‘doing gay s**t’ in horrific live stream taken into care

Boy homophobic abuse

A 12-year-old boy has been placed in protective care after a video of his family abusing him for being gay went viral online.

The video shows the boy, identified only as “Tyler,” being slapped, shoved and verbally abused by adults for doing “gay s**t”. The word “GAY” has been shaved onto the side of his head as punishment.

The footage was reportedly filmed in Atlanta, Georgia by the boy’s mother, who uploaded it to Instagram Live on 17 June.

“It popped up on my social media on Friday and when I saw it my heart was broken because I saw a piece of myself in that,” said local activist and city council candidate Devin Barrington-Ward, speaking to FOX 11.

“As a Black queer man, I have experienced some of the same homophobia and some of the same abuse by the hands of people that I love as a child.

“If you saw that and you didn’t see anything wrong with that, you’re part of the problem.”

Terence Stewart, president of Atlanta Black Pride, also identified with the video. “So often in the Black community, we’re not given the tools that are needed to identify or understand [gender or sexuality],” he told the Daily Dot.

“There is no doubt from this video that this is not the first time this child has gone through this.”

Atlanta Police confirmed the boy was removed from the home and placed in the care of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). At this stage it’s unclear if he will remain in their custody.

“Needless to say, the description of the event is distressing and our Special Victims Unit and the commander of the LGBTQ Liaison Unit are aware of the existence of the video,” the Atlanta police department said in a statement to the Daily Dot.

Barrington-Ward said he doesn’t want to see a family torn apart, but doesn’t want a young child experiencing violence or hate.

With the help of Hope Giselle, a Black trans community organiser, he reached out to Tyler’s mother. She told him she is a single mother of eight and dealing with “the challenges of raising a young Black queer child in poverty”.

He also reached out to the boy “so that he could see a version of himself in the future; [to know] that it does get better and that it’s important to fight for your survival because there is a future for you”.

“What I told him on the patio at his home is that you’re loved, we care for you, we got your back,” Barrington-Ward said. “I apologised because we didn’t create enough safe spaces to prevent this from happening.”

But what the boy told him highlighted the complexities of abuse cases. Tyler is relieved and grateful that he’s getting help, but also severely anxious after being removed from his family.

“He expressed appreciation for the support but also made it clear that he wasn’t happy with what happened to him,” Barrington-Ward said.

Before he was taken into care, a video of Tyler saying he was “good” was posted to Instagram Live. “My brother and them, they didn’t abuse me,” he says. “They were just showing me, like, you need to stop doing that.”

But a voice in the background can be heard saying, “Say it [N-word],” before the boy speaks.

After seeing this video Giselle said: “Tyler is physically safe and has confirmed he is OK. While we understand he is likely being coerced at this moment I trust that no further harm has come to him.”

With Tyler now safely in care, she and Barrington-Ward have created a GoFundMe page to raise money his clothing, shoes and other basic needs. So far it has raised over $6,000, which will be given to a legal guardian chosen by the courts.