Jeffrey Fehr, Gay California Teen And Cheerleading Squad Captain, Commits Suicide On New Year's Day
The disturbing spate of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teen suicides continues with news that another California student has taken his own life.
As The Sacramento Bee is reporting, 18-year-old Jeffrey Fehr hanged himself on New Year's Day in the front entrance of his family's Granite Bay home. Although Fehr had been openly gay since his sophomore year of high school and had recently been treated for depression following the end of a relationship, his parents Pati and Steve believe that a lifetime of enduring anti-gay bullying led their son, who reportedly just completed his first semester at Sierra College, to commit suicide.
"We will second-guess ourselves forever," Steve told the Bee. "But we do know that for years and years, people knocked him down for being different. It damaged him. It wore on him. He could never fully believe how wonderful he was, and how many people loved him."
Fehr was known as a talented athlete, and became captain of his high school's cheerleading squad (which had previously been all-female) his senior year. Still, friends recall Fehr being taunted for his decision to join the squad.
A Facebook group, "RIP Jeffrey Fehr," has been launched in honor of the late teen, and already has over 1,500 members. "Another amazing person which many of us never got to know," one user wrote. "I feel cheated that I never had the opportunity to meet such a gifted and talented person."
Take a look at other recent bullying cases and related news below:
The disturbing rash of LGBT teen suicides began receiving attention last fall. Among those who took their own life was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York after his roommate allegedly filmed him having sex with another man.
Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old California teen, hung himself in September 2010 after reportedly being bullied because he was gay.
Raymond S. Chase
Gay Rhode Island-based student Raymond S. Chase, 19, became the fifth in 2010's disturbing spate of teen suicides last fall.
Obama's Anti-Bullying Video
In October 2010, President Obama released a video in support of LGBT youth who were struggling with being bullied.
In November 2010, Jim Swilley, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch, revealed to his congregation that he is gay. The 52-year-old father of four said the recent spate of teen suicides, particularly that of Clementi, prompted him to change his mind. "For some reason his situation was kind of the tipping point with me," Swilley told CNN's Don Lemon this weekend.
Daniel Radcliffe Honored
In June, "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe was honored with the Trevor Project's "Hero" Award for his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/26/daniel-radcliffe-speaks-o_n_478960.html" target="_hplink">ongoing suicide prevention efforts</a> for LGBT youth.
In September, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Williamsville, N.Y., took his life Sunday after what his parents claim was years of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality, months after posting this "It Gets Better" clip on YouTube.
Lady Gaga's Dedication
After vowing to stop bullying and make it illegal, Lady Gaga -- a longtime advocate for LGBT causes -- dedicated a performance to Rodemeyer at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "I wrote this record about how your identity is really all you've got when you're in school," Gaga told the crowd. "So tonight, Jamey, I know you're up there looking at us, and you're not a victim. You're a lesson to all of us."
Bachmann Speaks Out
Days after being faced with a petition that urged her to publicly address gay bullying in her district, Rep. Michele Bachmann noted, "That's not a federal issue," according to CBS News. Previously, Tammy Aaberg, the mother of Justin Aaberg, a gay teen in the Anoka-Hennepin school district who committed suicide after having been bullied in area schools, delivered petitions to Bachmann's office asking her for support.
Jamie Hubley, a gay 15-year-old from Ottawa, Canada, committed suicide Oct. 14. In this clip, the teen performs Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me."
Hubley Tribute Video
Friends created a poignant tribute video to Hubley, the Canadian 10th grader who committed suicide on Friday.