A gay couple, Robbie Pierce and Neal Broverman, had been traveling west on Amtrak with their Black adopted son when they were yelled at by another passenger, reported NBC News. Pierce said the man directed remarks at their son saying, “They stole you and they’re pedophiles.”
Pierce said the man on the train started yelling across to them at their 6-year-old Black son, “Remember what I told you! Marriage is between a man and a woman.” Once the train stopped at a station in San Jose, Pierce said he and Broverman got in between the man and their two children, but the stranger did not stop.
More on the incident from NBC News:
The man continued to shout at the family of four, yelling, “That’s not a family! You’re rapists and pedophiles. You steal Black and Asian children and you rape them,” Pierce and Broverman said. The couple has an adopted son, who is Black, and a 5-year-old Asian American foster daughter.
Pierce and Broverman said this was not the first time their family has had hate directed at them in public. They said that sometimes strangers will taunt them with “the f word” and other homophobic slurs. Broverman also recalled an episode where a driver rolled down his window and asked the pair’s children: “Did they kidnap you?”
Pierce shared details on the incident via Twitter:
The Amtrak employees demanded the man exit the train, but he refused, according to news reports. The employees had to get the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office to help escort the man off the train, per NBC. The couple said following the incident, their son woke up in the middle of the night and threw up.
The couple told NBC said the incident was more aggressive than other things they’ve experienced and was “laced with talking points from right-wing media and legislators.”
In fact, Pierce attributed many of the comments yelled at him to right-wing media.
The recent attack on LGBTQ+ education in schools has stemmed from conservatives misconstruing gender and sexuality studies as a “gay agenda” to influence children to become homosexual.
“I’m done letting these people pretend that they care about protecting children or not harming them, because this rhetoric is directly harming my children. So, if you want to talk about who’s endangering children, it’s anybody who’s sharing these lies,” said Pierce via NBC.