Taunted and bullied, gifted athlete and high school friend Jeffrey Fehr takes his life

GRANITE BAY, Calif. – On a blustery Saturday morning inside a Granite Bay church, nearly 1,000 people gathered to say goodbye to Jeffrey Fehr. Men and women in dark clothing filled every seat and stood along a back wall. Teenagers wearing shirts with Jeffrey’s image clustered in groups, crying and leaning into one another for support.

At a reception that followed his funeral, many spoke of a gifted young athlete who was funny, kind and compassionate. They called Jeffrey an inspiration and a mentor.

For Jeffrey’s parents, Pati and Steve Fehr, the scene was stunning.

“So many people gained strength from Jeff,” his father said, looking out at the crowd. “The unfortunate part is that Jeff didn’t realize it.”

(This story appeared in The Sacramento Bee on Jan. 16, 2012.)

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Jeffrey hanged himself in the front entrance to his family’s home in a tony Granite Bay neighborhood. He was 18 years old.

Since that day, his parents have searched their hearts and minds for answers. Though Jeffrey, who was gay, had recently ended a relationship and had been treated for depression, they believe something more insidious put him on the path toward suicide. They are convinced that a lifetime of taunts and bullying contributed to his decision to take his own life.

“We will second-guess ourselves forever,” his father said. “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.”

Despite an increase in positive images of gay people in the mass media, from contestants in reality programs like “Project Runway” to sitcoms like “Modern Family,” bullying of gay youths remains rampant. Nine out of 10 gay and bisexual students report harassment at school, according to the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention group. Gay and bisexual youths are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to try suicide.

“Society has come a long way toward reducing hatred and discrimination against gays,” said Israel Kalman, a school psychologist in New York and director of the national Bullies2Buddies program. “But it will be awhile, if ever, before it disappears entirely.”

Alone in a crowd

Jeffrey Fehr and his two older brothers, Tyler and Ryan, spent their childhood in a community of high-end homes and high expectations.

Tyler and Ryan starred on their sports teams starting in elementary school, but Jeffrey was more interested in dancing and jumping on the trampoline. While other boys played baseball at school recess, he climbed on the jungle gym with girls.

As early as the third grade, Jeffrey was the target of taunts, family members said. He had few friends and felt comfortable only when he was at home or on vacation with people he trusted.

“He would come home from school and cry,” said Tyler, 21. “He would say he felt alone, that he wasn’t accepted for the things he liked.”

It was in the sixth grade that people first started calling him “fag,” the Fehrs said.

“It broke my heart that he was abused that way,” his mother said. They talked about how they could fix things.

Jeffrey’s parents sent him to counseling, tried to build his confidence and encouraged him to pursue his interests, including art, theater and dance. Later, they got him treatment for depression.

His parents hoped high school would be a more welcoming place for Jeffrey. But his first two years were “pure hell,” they said.

“He would literally hang his head when I dropped him off,” his father recalled. “It was just awful for him.”

One day as Jeffrey walked through the cafeteria, a student upended his lunch tray and laughed as others joined in, he told his parents. Another time, someone painted the driveway next to the Fehr home with gay slurs directed at Jeffrey. Day after day, he endured calls of “you’re so gay” and similar taunts.

Granite Bay High principal Michael McGuire acknowledged that Jeffrey “had some struggles” during his freshman and sophomore years, and said a counselor and assistant principal worked to help resolve them.

“Although there were some issues with other students, none rose to the level where school discipline was involved,” McGuire said.

Bullies rarely respond to disciplinary tactics anyway, said Kalman, who travels the country teaching educators and parents about the problem. The focus, he said, should be on the youngster who is being bullied.

“I teach the practice of the Golden Rule,” Kalman said. “When you’re bullied, don’t get upset about it. Treat the bully like a friend, like you want to be treated, and the bullying will stop.”

Jeffrey seemed to adopt that approach late in his sophomore year. He told his family he was gay, and came out on Facebook. “We told him that it was OK, that we loved him unconditionally,” his mother said. “We were proud of him for embracing who he was.”

After that, Jeffrey seemed to “blossom,” she said. He joined the high school cheer squad, whose members previously had been all girls, and found a community that adored him. As a senior he was the team’s captain, and mastered handsprings, backflips and other feats. Later he joined an elite competitive team.

“Cheer gave him a lot of acceptance, because it was something he was really good at,” said fellow squad member Shayla Chock, 16.

Jeffrey’s body grew strong and muscular, and at 6 feet, 3 inches tall he towered over his teammates. He flashed a brilliant smile and had a posse of close friends, mostly girls a couple of years younger than he.

“Jeff loved everyone with everything he had,” said his pal Carly Flajole, also 16. “He always wanted everyone to get along, without drama. He was a leader.”

Bri Larson, who coached him for four years, said Jeffrey was a “phenomenal” performer known for his skills, vibrant personality and ability to motivate.

“These are qualities that you just can’t teach,” she said. “Jeff was special. He was like a son to me.”

Jeffrey had many young fans, but the taunting never quite went away. Friends recalled ugly words shouted in student sections at games, and adults who said they wouldn’t let their sons do something as “girly” as cheering. If others whispered about Jeffrey’s sexuality or teased him, the girls told them to stop.

“He seemed to brush everything off,” said his friend Megan Hurley, 16. “None of the comments made him want to change who he was. From the outside at least, it seemed like nothing penetrated him.”

But inside, said family and friends, the years of harsh words may have created a wound that never quite healed.

Jeffrey’s downward spiral seemed to begin after he graduated from Granite Bay High last year and started college. He was unsure about his academic path and his future, his parents said, and talked with anger about the “suburban fishbowl” that expected him to “conform to society’s standards.” He never complained about bullying at college, but he made few new friends.

Life outside of school had him on an emotional roller coaster. His elite coed Power Cheerleading team earned a trip to a world competition, but Jeffrey wondered aloud whether he was good enough to make a top college squad. He was smitten with a young man in Southern California, but the relationship was on and off.

Still, in the weeks before he died, nothing about Jeffrey’s behavior rang alarm bells to friends or family members. He seemed relaxed on Christmas Eve, when his friend Shayla dropped by with a homemade gingerbread cookie. He was thrilled with the new iPhone his parents bought him.

Three days after Christmas, against the wishes of his mom and dad, Jeffrey drove to Los Angeles to see his love interest. He took off early on a Wednesday and called his parents later that day. He told them all was well.

On Friday, Dec. 30, his parents got a call from Jeffrey as they were driving with Tyler to Palm Desert for the holiday weekend. He told them his relationship was ending but “we are going to be good friends,” his mother recalled. “He wasn’t happy, but he was accepting.”

He was heading back to Granite Bay.

Jeffrey’s parents urged him to get the family dog, Riley, from the kennel, and make plans with friends. But he turned down an offer to visit the mall Saturday and never picked up the dog. He was alone on New Year’s Eve.

Shortly after midnight, his mother called to wish him a Happy New Year and got no answer. “I didn’t think anything of it. I figured he’d found something to do,” she said.

At 10 a.m., she texted him.

“Are you awake yet?”

No response.

For the next hour, the family called and texted over and over. His brother checked Jeff’s Facebook page. The last entry was at 10 p.m. the previous night.

“New Years is stupid,” it said.

As the minutes ticked by and messages went unanswered, his parents began to panic. Around noon, Pati Fehr called Shayla. Could she and her mom swing by the house to check on Jeffrey?

The girl’s mother found him hanging from a rope in the home’s front entrance. Sheriff’s deputies said he probably died around 5 a.m. that day.

Now his loved ones are left to try to make sense of what happened, and to wonder whether the abuses he suffered indirectly led to his death.

“We have so many questions that will never have answers,” his father said. “But I do know that something was taken away from Jeff because of all those years he was bullied. He carried around that pain.”

Perhaps his breakup was “the last straw” for a young man who never felt fully accepted, his friends and family members said.

Last Saturday, inside a reception hall with his son’s image smiling from video screens, Steve Fehr fought tears as he spoke. He asked those gathered to “embrace diversity, be tolerant and do not bully.”

“A bully might say something and forget about it in 10 seconds,” he said. “But people like Jeff never forget those words.”

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About Died and yet ...

Fascinating people die every day, some well-known, some not so known. People's obituaries are often the only things written about their rich, varied, interesting lives. This blog celebrates the large and small among us, without whom our experiences wouldn't be as meaningful.

76 comments

  1. hatter7

    This … shouldnt happen! just sad

  2. Ana Esquivel

    this is very sad and no one should ever have to go threw this kinda of stuff people should accept each other for who they are no matter if they like it or not

  3. Dave. Motsinger

    The killing needs to STOP it just brack my heart

  4. brandon

    i am so so sorry for jeffrey’s family and friends, for him, and for all of us who might have one day had the privilege of knowing him. as a gay man who grew up in oklahoma in the 1980’s, trust me when i say that i too know the pain and hopelessness of being constantly berated and told you are less than. every time i read one of these heartbreaking stories, i wonder how it is that i made it through all the bullying with any inkling of self awareness. then i remind myself that i am still patching the holes left by the names i was called the first 18 years of my life, somehow still lacking the courage or belief in myself to be my best. i wonder what i might have achieved if i had the tiniest bit of self confidence or if i had just been left alone completely. what would jeffrey have accomplished in life if he had only had the support of his peers? we will never know. i am so grateful and thankful that he at least had such amazing, accepting, and loving parents at home. so many gay youth do not have that security and protection away from the hell they live at school. for some gay youth, it’s even worse than what they endure at school. jeffrey’s parents did everything right yet the damage was done. it was done to him by other people during his most formative years and he never got over it, he didn’t see a way to repair himself. i hope his family knows that he will not have died in vain if just one person decides not to end their life because of jeffrey’s story. ultimately it will likely be more than one person that he will save. it doesn’t bring him back but it does create a legacy that somehow keeps his memory alive in our hearts. may you find some comfort wherever you are able and may jeff’s bright spirit be a light for you in these darkest days.

    • Ezekiel

      Im gay and was raised in a very small town in oklahoma. I understand where you are coming from. I no longer live there but visit often. Christmas break 2011 I was at a bar in Ada, Oklahoma and some guy called me a fag. The good news is everyone in the bar turned against the guy and, non-violently, kicked him out of the bar. It was a great relief to see some progression.

      • brian

        I grew up in Oklahoma in the 80s too. Stillwater. Congratulations for getting out when you could… It was tough being an Okie back then. But times do change. There’s even a gay straight alliance at my old high school. Can you imagine?

  5. Thomas

    I don’t think it really had to do with bullying. If he had done it before high school or during his first two years, ok. But I think he may have died from a broken heart, and I think him saying he wasn’t happy about remaining friends with his last boyfriend and accepting it was stretching the truth. He didn’t want his family to worry about him. And being alone on a holiday… I have done that and it isn’t too much fun. I have also been alone on my birthday and sick on that day more than once. I think it was really the combination of losing his boyfriend and being alone on New Year’s. The bullying I think he didn’t like but it didn’t affect him as much as it did when he was 12-16. Those are just my thoughts.

    • Tom in Portland

      I am a 69 yo gay man who remembers very well the bullying I suffered in high school and college. It never goes away! Each day or two of my life I remember the worse of the worse. I am sorry this very loving family lost their son. This was so very unnecessary but young people think this is not a hurtful game, but it is! If you have bullied someone, then get help. If you were bullied yourself Thomas, then also get help. This doesn’t get better unless you have help. I had help with a great therapist in 1965-1966 who taught me to take it one day at time. I have, I am glad I am here and 69 years old.

      Tom in Portland.

    • Ruth

      I agree with your point of view. It makes sense,

  6. Very sad indeed… having been there myself I know the pain.

  7. brandon

    i cannot leave without saying that this is a direct result of american society’s refusal to end the socially acceptable discrimination and prejudice against LGBT, of any age. the scope of behavior and reactions that LGBT of any age, face on a daily basis is unimaginable, and would never be tolerated if it was done based on ethnicity or gender. it is perfectly acceptable to openly display hostility towards gays, make jokes at their expense and make fun of them. in this day and age, we would like to think we’re so civilized and evolved, yet our very own government sends the unspoken message that it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against others because of their sexual orientation. day after day americans see the government denying LGBT the exact same set of freedoms and rights they would have if they “were just a little bit more like the rest of the citizens”. what kind of message trickles down to the kids in grade school by the government? the same government that feels so compelled to invade other nations and go to war to end discrimination, genocide, to protect minorities, and return them to a democracy. please…where is the common sense?

  8. Jaiden

    Im Very Sorry For The Fehr Family. This Is A Time When People Should Realize That Everyone Is Different. No Two People Are The Same, Why Call Someone Out Or Bully Someone For Their Differences? Those Words That Steve Fehr Said Are Very True. ” A Bully Might Say Something And Forget It 10 Seconds Later, But Those That Get Bullied Wont Forget” If Anyone Has The Chance To Talk To Thier Relatives Such As Nieces And Nephews Or Cousins Or Anyone Still In School You Should Take The Chance To Teach Them What Could Happen… Just Open Their Eyes To Reality Because Things That Are Said And Done Within The Jr. High Days And High School Days, Does Not Stay There For Everyone. A Lot Of People Carry What Happened With Them The Rest Of Their Lives.. My Heart Goes Out To The Fehr’s.

  9. Mitch Geremino-Davis

    Sweet young man rest in peace, now you are surrounded by love forever.

  10. Tee

    This is really sad a beautiful young man ends his life over hatred, why are people so mad and judgmental. I feel the parent should have maybe home schools him to try and avoid some of the taunts. People some be able to choose their own destiny without being mistreated or hated. I feel sorry for his family and there lost. As a parent myself you don’t know why to protect your kid from being mistreated or bullied, even though we feel that is our job from birth, and when you’re not to protect your kids you feel lost and that you let them down. God Bless him and his family….

  11. To this young man’s parents I’m very for the loss of you son, I do understand what he went through I was bullied when I was in school and it does leave a mark . I hope one day we can all get along and no matter what our sexual oration is .PLEASE STOP THE BULLYING !!

  12. James Bonneau

    This is very sad God bless you Jeffery. Fly with the other angels .

  13. Ramjet

    So very sad…I am nearly 70 years old and still can remember AND FEEL the taunts and teasing from my high school years. It just shouldn’t happen.

  14. This so sad and so wrong, my heart and prayers go out to your family.

  15. WES

    may you rest in peace, i too was bullied,u are now free of the pain of your bullys. its sad so sad such a beaUTIFUL YOUNG MAN. I WILL SLEEP A LITTLE BETTER KNOWING HE IS AN ANGEL ON OUR SIDE. HUGS

  16. Michael Lundberg

    This is so sad…my prayers and thoughts are with Jeffrey’s family and friends. We all wish that our communities would spend time doing for others rather than making a young man miserable for who he is. I am a gay man in Utah, and for those of you that still think this is a choice, ask yourself this question, “do you really think we would choose this life, with all that young men or women like Jeff have to endure”? The answer is NO! It brings tears to my eyes knowing that this talented young man was pushed so hard by others, that he could not go on anymore. Rest In Peace Jeffrey.

  17. Charles E. Smith

    Very Sad to read this.

  18. Andy

    You can’t grow up in your formative years being harrassed and bullied (for what should be the most joyous part of your life) and not have it affect you. I grew up this way and had it not been for a fear of hell I would have taken my life. One fear was greater than the other. Thats a terrible way to exist and it left wounds that have taken decades for me to come to grips with. Gay youth have a fear of being mobbed at school as well.

  19. Carrir

    This story really broke my heart. I pray for him and his family. You bullies out there will be judged by the Lord. And the way you judge is how you will be judged. Shame on you. RIP Jeffrey.

  20. Jonathan

    This is really sad. 😦 breaks my hear to continue seeing these updates about kids being bullied.

  21. May God’s peace be with Jeffrey’s family and circle of friends.

    I am weeping at this tragedy. We, the gay christian community must take upon ourselves to share the good news that we are not a mistake, that we can walk in wholeness being made in God’s likeness and image. Our community is our Jerusalem. We cannot wait for the Church at large to “catch up.” This is our responsibility to bring hope to our people. We are the ones to lift up the arms of our brothers and sisters. We are the ones to kneel beside them in their darkest hours. May this sad, sad story that is too often repeated stir us into an urgency unlike ever before.

    “God, I implore you to wake us up to the call that is sounding before us! God! Help me to surrender everything I am in order to do your will in reaching my people. I ask for an anointing like Moses wore that cries to the enemy of our souls, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” Forgive me, forgive us, for being laxidaical in our attempt to reach our own people. Amen”

  22. Greg

    This saddens me. My heart goes out to him and his family. RIP Jeffery.

  23. Denis

    First, to Jeff’s family and friends my deepest condolence! I am at that point and struggle everyday, wondering what’s next…I certainly hope one day, the pain, taunting and bullying will go away so that everyone is treated with dignity and respect we all deserve, Not gay rights, but HUMAN RIGHTS!!

  24. James Bork

    First and foremost, my greatest sympathies to Fehr family!!! I know how much it hurts to lose someone as special as Jeff was to you.. I, being gay military, do you understand ridicule. Growing up I was tormented by my peers and even threatened with death. One memory that I will never forget is prom night! I was out in high school and was taunted tremendously. The night of prom, before we walked down the carpet

  25. James Bork

    we had what was called a banquet dinner. During the dinner we were told to write notes to each other anonymously. I had written about 5 and had passed then down to who I had written to. I had received 4 explaining that if I did not leave the school or town, that I would be a victim of homicide. The torture I felt on my heart and mind was so incredible! That evening after prom, I had left the gym I return to my car. I sat there with the notes in my hands and cried until I made up my mind to go for a drive. well driving I had gotten very angry so I started to speed up. Not thinking correctly I had reached 90 miles an hour in a 35. indefinitely I got pulled over by the sheriff

    • Ruth

      OMG, That is scary. I’m so sorry, where can you go, whom do you trust on a situation like that, did you tell the Sheriff of what happened? Definitely good or bad he was an angel sent from above to save your life.

  26. john

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one (Galatians 3:28)

    “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

    For these people who have nothing to do in their life please be nice because we don’t know someday you will have a child your own and turn out to be Gay and be afraid in KARMA…………

  27. As someone who was relentlessly bullied in school, my heart goes out to the Fehr family and friends. I tried to go to college after my terrible experiences of being bullied in high school, still in college, I was still being bullied, so I dropped out. I didn’t go back to college until I was in my thirties because I knew then no one would know or remember me and I could finally go on with my studies in peace. I drifted from one meaningless job to another during my twenties because of it.

    I can share, in my experience, that later on in life during hard emotional times, the bullying does come back as you go through the thought process of trying to understand/absorb why someone broke up with you or doesn’t love you anymore. You convince yourself you are never going to be loved by anyone and that the whole world hates you. Unfortunately, you get so bogged down in your despair, you can’t think about the people who do love and care about you. Being bullied leaves a deep and lasting scar on you. I am now nearly fifty years old and seeing these kids taking their own life either because they are being bullied or because something triggers memories of being bullied due to a particular circumstance angers and saddens me to no end.

  28. Mike McRae

    Hey Jeff you are a hero to me buddy. I won’t forget your beautiful life. Never met you ever buddy but you have won my heart you beautiful guy. Shame the world knows how decent you are but you left us without knowing this.i am married straight father if a 23 year old boy. NOW i have another loved son.named Jeff. Sleep in peace my dear Son and let the Angel on High know what a wonderful Cheer Keader they have got. REST IN THE OEACE YOU SO RICHLY DESERVE .

  29. D

    There are so many ingnorant people in the world. No one should ever feel they have to end their life because they don’t fit into a certain mold that has been carved for them. People are different and we need to learn to accept that. Teenagers are cruel. A lot of it comes from their parents who are the same way. It needs to stop and we need to let one another live the life of choice. If we don’t like that lifestyle…….move on!

  30. b

    So sad to see this ….. Hope your family well… The cheer community will miss him and so will everbody else
    Kentucky all stars member of

  31. My father was a gay man who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, in a rural community. He was one of those who believed that if he got married and had kids he’d be “cured.” He died of a brain tumor at age 45, after multiple suicide attempts. Many times I’ve wished that he had lived to see the more tolerant society of today- but obviously we stil have SO far to go. RIP Jeff, and my daddy.

  32. Kathy Elam

    I am sad, angry, and just down right fed up with these kids that bully. God made us all different, and we are all his children, what gives anyone the right to point a finger at anyone. You think just because a person does not live the way you think they should gives you the right to bully and make fun of. I think there should be punishment for this crap. How many kids have been driven to their death because of this. And it’s not just gay or lesbian, if your overweight or poor or teeth are messed up, these jerks find something to pick on kids about. It makes me sick to my stomach to read things such as this. This poor boy was cheated of his school years and now his life. Not to mention his parents living thru this nightmare that kids caused. I hope the kids who hurt this young man to his death never forget what you have done. Kids can be down right cruel and heartless.

  33. patricia

    Angels East, angels West
    North and South,
    Do your best,
    and guard him, while he rests.
    R.I.P

  34. CJ

    Its sad to hear these’s stories we as parents need to talk to our kids n let them know their not alone!

  35. Seth

    This breaks my heart into a million pieces. I hope Jeffrey is at ease now and feels peace and can rest without fear and hurt. I’m so sorry to friends and family. May you find comfort in remembering all the joy he brought to your lives, the joy is still real and exists in your hearts, therefore he is always alive, in all of us!

  36. Pingback: How many more? « 365 Thoughts I Just Cannot or Willnot Keep

  37. “Bullies rarely respond to disciplinary tactics anyway, said Kalman, who travels the country teaching educators and parents about the problem. The focus, he said, should be on the youngster who is being bullied.
    “I teach the practice of the Golden Rule,” Kalman said. “When you’re bullied, don’t get upset about it. Treat the bully like a friend, like you want to be treated, and the bullying will stop.””

    Are you kidding me?!!! The focus should be on the victim?? That’s like telling a sexual assault victim how she should dress and behave instead of focusing on the perpetrator. Would you teach a woman who’s being sexually harassed to become “buddies” with the man who’s harassing her? Wrong priorities! And as long as the system continues to focus on changing the victim rather than the bullies, we will continue to see problems. My heartfelt thoughts are with Jeffrey’s family. What an awful tragedy.

  38. cordelia martin

    I am so sad for this storry this man should have not died so young for being boulied ,
    some people should be a same of themself to pic and hert this young man heart and made him feel he was not a good person ,to take is life like this or just take your life i know deppression is very hard to get a old of
    but i realy feel he is in a bether place with all the wonderful people gone so young .
    I just wish and hope he give strenght to is parents and is familly friend the people that love him dearly.
    You should always remember the fun you all hade with him and is amazing smile i wish i would have none him.
    Now in in peace in a bether place in heaven world so he can rest with no more pain ,and he can watch down above and help the people he left being to help them yell cause i am sure is some thing hard to understand why he did it ,but when your boulied its hell on earth but it makes you stronger for some people your in my toughts and R.I.P jeff i pray for your familly ,
    i can t wait to be your friend in heaven save me a nice place peace xo

  39. Your Friend

    So terribly sad that this poor child felt no way out. He will be missed by me and I’m only one touched by his death. Love and support to the family and heartbroken friends.

    i_am_calliope@hotmail.com

  40. My heart and prayers go out to Jeffrey’s family. I grew up with all the same problems and still live with constant taunts and harrassment for being gay. I came very close to the same solution more than once in my life for the same reasons but realized that it was my responsibilty, to young people like Jeffrey, to not let the evil doers in the world get the better of me. I only wish Jeffrey had been a friend of mine. He would not have made the tragic decision he made. I’m sure his beautiful and daring energy is in a better place around us in the universe. Love to him and his loved ones.

  41. Condolences to this grieving family at the loss of such a promising young man.

    What follows is a copy & paste of my comment posted on Facebook about this story (with a few changes and additions.)

    Nine out of 10 gay and bisexual students report harassment at school, according to the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention group. Do another Eight have to take their own life before the bullies & their bully enablers, finally get the message? Stories of America’s youth taking their own life has gone far past a crisis and morphed into an epidemic.

    However the skeptic in me feels that it will never be enough for the bullies & their bully enablers, they see it as ridding the country/world of “them dirty queers.” So we ALL MUST continue in the fight against the real scourge of the country/world, they are to blame for so many promising life’s ending far too soon, & that scourge I am talking about are the bullies & bully enablers!!

    This scourge that are the bullies & bully enablers do not care OR even stop the think that the life they goaded into snuffing out their own life, could or would have possibly grown up to discover a cure for cancer or maybe something that could or would have had the the potential to improve the lives of all of humanity!!

  42. Annette

    My heart is broken. We need support for these kids. Harassing has got to stop. What could this young man have accomplished in his life? We will never know. God bless him and his family.

  43. am sadden and pray that he is in a better place:(

  44. jeff mullins

    First my heart goes out to jeffery and his family .I’m not gay and I was not bullied in school but I read this thinking how could people be so cruel ! I do believe that a person should have the choice to live there life the way they feel is right not how everyone else thinks is right . the fact remains a young man who suffered dealing with other peoples stupidity and ignorance all his life had to be unbareable ! Its hard enough for kids these days to find out who they are without people telling them who they should be ! If you don’t like someone for who they are then just keep your damn mouth shut and mind your own business that simple . godbless Jeffery and his family . find comfort he’s in a better place! And those that tormented him his life

  45. Pingback: Taunted and bullied, gifted athlete and high school friend Jeffrey Fehr takes his life « Died and Yet … | Ok to be Gay

  46. I’m not gay but have gay friends reading this story hits me. Of how people can so hurtful even as grown ups. As an ex bully myself I never knew as a kid how words could do so much damaged as if it were physical contact. To ferh family im so sorry about your loss. I prey other bullies read and about how there taunting can affect a person. And change there ways.

  47. jose torra

    Such a tragedy…

  48. Todd Fitch

    Yeah it is super sad this sort of thing keeps happening, I myself am gay but really never had these problems, I’ve always been in to GUY stuff Not gay stuff, working on cars, going to monster truck shows, hanging out with Rednecks who would kill me if they knew the truth about me, but that’s the difference, I don’t follow any sort of gay stereotype, I’ve always been one of the Guys and that’s pretty much saved my ass from the teasing and the taunting other gay guys have had to deal with. Nobody has to know that guy I’m always with is more than a friend, I’m just lucky enough to be able to pull it all off without raising any suspicion and have Always been able to

    • brandon

      you might think this is okay…because it’s all you’ve ever known, but someday it will suddenly dawn on you that you have not been living your life, you’ll realize that you’ve been living a lie. you have every right to be as true to yourself as your redneck “friends” are to themselves. you’ll also understand someday that it is better to have no friends than to have friends with conditions. why should they want to kill you if they knew you were gay? do you have the urge to hurt them because they’re straight? you might be surprised by them…if you have known them for years and years, they may not turn against you. only you and they know, i guess. why would you want friends that wouldn’t love you either way. they either have your back or they don’t, no if’s, and’s, or but’s. as far as all the “guy stuff vs gay stuff”…categorizing hobbies and interests by gender or trying to measure one’s masculinity by “manly” or “girly” past times is probably still somewhat relevant in a small town, but really, it only perpetuates archaic stereotypes while thinly masking the very discrimination that is at it’s core. you are not only doing yourself a huge disservice by playing along like a good boy, but it dismisses the acts of all those who protested, fought, and suffered so that you and i can have the chance to live our lives as we are. i understand that every gay person has their own time to emerge from the carefully constructed limitations of their childhoods, and i would never suggest you come out unless you are comfortable doing so. that said…you only have this chance to be yourself and live this life. as long as you are respectful of others and unwilling to harm those whose paths you cross, you should live as committed to yourself as you possibly can. be happy, don’t hide. don’t waste the time you have pleasing those you think would kill you if you stepped outside of what they think is normal or okay. it’s too short, my friend. life is too short.

  49. RIP, dear Jeffrey. Prayers and strength to your family and friends. Pity on those that bullied you and never accepted you; their lives will never be as enriched as they could have been.

  50. Timothy

    I am deeply moved and saddened by this event of such a young man. I too am a 46 yr old gay man , who has lived with the pain of being bullied, I carry those painful memories from pre-highschool, highschool and college and well after college. II seek group fellowship each week and battle depression on a day to day basis, I have a loving nieve christian family who bully from within, who are in denial that they temselves bully with out knowing that they do so. They encourage the taunts by passing the buck by stating” oh he’ll get over it.. It’s just words”, but what they dont understand is that thoese very words , words of hate, cut deeper than any knife that stabs. it eats away the soul. Being much loved only makes it worse for at times you are trying to please everyone and forgetting about yourserlf, you breakdown,both inside as well as outside for the moment it happens, but it replays over and over again in your head. Its like a brusie that constantly gets hit over and over again and never heals it self, never scabbing over and regenerating new skin. Only to scar and appear ugly mark on your life you can’t get rid of. I hope this family will find answers, they might not get the closer they seek, but know that many others go on living for the same reasons, the bullying must stop, God is the only one who can Judge, but people tend to forget that even loving christians forget. We just all need to keep reminding, and honestly that’s the sad truth of it all. Thanks for listening. Tim

  51. Ian

    WHY IN 2012 IS THIS STILL HAPPENING? Every piece of news like this destroys another little bit of my soul. Shame on you America.

  52. Mike

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeffrey’s family and friends. I am a 31 year old gay man and I believe we all know the pain that Jeff was feeling to an extent. Some of us know how to turn the pain into a positive but some don’t. When I was dealing with the verbal and physical abuse, I thought to myself that the abusers are just lonely depressed people that need to do whatever they can to make their life seem more interesting. It just shows how jealous they are of me and that they took their anger out on me b/c they’ll never be me. Being the only male on my High School Gymanstics team I got made fun of a lot but I always had a reply. I used to tell them they were only jealous b/c i was the one who can get a bunch of girls to like me and they had no chance. After a while they gave up and realized that i’m just a human being living my life as much as they were. After graduation, we all went our separate ways. 12 years later, I find them searching for me on facebook and trying to add me as friends. There are so many people out there being bullied no matter what color or sexual preference they are and it needs to come to an end. To those of you that listen to those that bully you. Ignore them. They’re really just jealous of you. You have so many reasons to live your life. Don’t ever change who you are. Be yourself and you’ll go far in this world and always remember you are loved.

  53. Kc

    This is sad. And as I’ve read some of the comments, I see a lot of blame put on the kids who caused him all this grief. Let’s not forget that these things are taught! The majority of the time its the parents of these children that teach them that being gay isn’t right and make jokes about gays around their children. They are teaching their children to be ignorant, hating little monsters! For the parents who read about this, I really hope that you take the time to reflect on this. Don’t allow hatred into your homes or into the minds of your children.

    I was raised in a Southern Baptist home and when I came out, my parents thought nothing less of me. We are all gods children, he does not make mistakes. My family loves me as much as they always have and I hope that the rest of the teenagers in this world can be blessed with the same love and support.

    My heart and prayers go out to their family. Very sorry for your loss of such an amazing person.

  54. Holly

    My heart goes out to his family nothinh could be more painful the losing there boy. And my heart goes out to anyone who is mad to feel bad about themselves. I wish I could hug all of you and make your pain go away. my love to all we are all in it together.

  55. Very sad that the world has been robbed of a wonderful young man. I think its evitable that parents don’t blame themselves, which these parents shouldn’t. It sounds like they were very involved and understanding. So sorry Fehr Family thoughts and prayers are with you.

  56. Russell Anile

    my deepest and most sorrowful condolences goes out to Jefferey’s family and friends ..I understand I myself was a victim of bulling throughout my life and still am, i am 53 and suffered all my life with major depression. Please, please advocate to stop bullying throughout the world

  57. This is too tragic for words. My heartfelt prayers and thoughts go out for this young man, and to his family and friends.
    And also for the others who are being bullied; remember, you are loved, you are O.K., and – yes, things do get better. Remember this! God Bless Katie

  58. Teens and children are the cruelest people god ever thought to put on the planet. What I find despicable is the ho-hum attitude of the school “it never rose to the level that it required school discipline.” Really? It most schools you cannot bring an aspirin into the school they have a zero tolerance for drugs. how about a zero tolerance for homophobia. Or is uttering and chanting you’re a fag the normal atmosphere that pervades a school. This isn’t Lord of the Flies where the strongest prey on the weak. You have a zero tolerance for drugs? How about a zero tolerance for homophobia? And where was ONE freaking KIND teacher to take them under his wing? Jesus. So maddening.

  59. kj91

    This is very sad, that people take their life away because of other peoples hurtful words. My little sister now 13 says that she actually likes girls now, not sure maybe she’s confused? But I do know some of her “friends” didn’t want to speak to her anymore because of that! She has had issues with cutting herself but the reason why we have no idea? We don’t know if its a simple act for attention or just because my brother who is older than her went thru a phase like that but he was literally depressed and went to a mental hospital for help. As for her she would act all happy or whatever after ward ? Well my point is I admit for me and my family its okay for people to be gay my bestfriend is gay but when its your own family its hard to know how to react idk if maybe cause we know that this world is cruel and we dont want her to get hurt or I don’t know. I will accept it and love her no matter what the day she decides to come out to us but as for other people idk I hope she never gets bullied because if my sister killed herself because of this I would be so heart broken and pist off! It’s her life she can like/love who ever she wants and whatever she wants and nobody is anybody to judge her or her actions!

    I’m very sorry for the family’s loss, may your son rest in peace.

  60. Nelson T.

    This story is a bit intense, but highlights much of what is wrong with Jeffrey Fehr’s generation. Granite Bay is a fairly tony community. He probably had the resources to have gotten help and the resources for time away to rethink and actualize his life. While bullying was the underlying cause of self-acceptance problems exacerbating his depression, the reporter in this story is right to also present his dissolved relationship with a stranger in Los Angeles as catalyst for suicide as well.

    Fehr’s generation is one that is taught if you comprehensively abide by all the normative societal lessons presented for a happy gay life, you can achieve it rapidly. The article highlights that he did this by his coming out for acceptance; his rebellion of the suburban malaise to demonstrate intelligence and ability for critical reasoning; his athletics to demonstrate initiative and discipline for self-improvement; and his active online search for that romantic interest in LA for companionship to demonstrate agency– all the formulaic things expected to build one’s own form of happiness and well being.

    It didn’t for him, and was sadly, striving too intensely–overcoming obstacles (bullying) steadfastly and proactively building esteem–as much in his generation are taught to do was what pushed him to his final and unacceptable disappointments. He complied with all the contemporary lessons for happiness, but they feel through. It is a true consequence of an age group and generation blessed with too much access to information, philosophies and lessons taught by their parents and teachers, affirmed by their peers to have discipline and overcome with will power as he did. But the failure of these pressures on this generation of needing to comply comprehensively to pop-psychology, proactive strategies to happiness is the true point of this sad event. Being able to synthesize one’s own true identity away from standard institutions and dogma truly leads one to formulate acceptable forms of agency–truly yielding actualization and fortitude. What a truly a significant story about patience. Much love this his survivors. #RIP

    • brandon

      i hate to be argumentative but isn’t that every generation? i’m a 41 year old man and i will tell you that my generation too believes/believed that “if you comprehensively abide by all the normative societal lessons presented for a happy gay life, you can achieve it rapidly”. rapidly, obviously being a relative term open to interpretation. it should also be noted that the possibility of achieving a happy gay life rapidly is not out of the question or even that hard to manifest. you must only be optimistic and available to the option of happiness. i have been in a relationship for 22 years and i will tell you that i achieved some level of happiness rather quickly, at least sooner than my contemporaries and friends…and for the most part have been lucky enough to remain happy. it wasn’t the lofty expectations of his gay generation that failed jeffrey, it wasn’t even his own personal hopes or lessons for happiness that failed him…it was simply the people who chose repeatedly to stunt his emotional growth by hurting him any way they could. i don’t see jeff’s search for happiness as the disappointment that finally broke him, it wasn’t at all unrealistic and all the formulaic things you listed that he was doing are, for many, ingredients of a happy life. it was his tormenters and their many failures that broke him. it was their disinterest in finding their own happiness, in their total lack of discipline, and their disregard for self improvement that killed jeff. nothing more.

  61. Reinhard stander

    I am so sorry for the family that lost their son…….he will allways be in their hearts.He was such a good and cute boy….I just hope oneday the people will accept the gays like us…….and much people do and I just want to say thanks you! But I am really sorry for the family that lost their son

  62. eric

    May u find peace and comfort that only God can give. May the heartache be replaced by the awesome memories of Jeffrey and the emptiness be soften by the comfort of God.

  63. Andre

    This is so close to my heart. I have felt the same before, but after reading this I still have hope and will never give up. All my love to his family.

  64. Criss

    Awe 😦 this absolutely made me cry! Prayers and thoughts go out to Jeffrey, his family, and his friends! I’m so sorry for the loss of your son and friend.

  65. i have a t-shirt that say”s “no child is born a racist” i purchased 8 yrs ago on castro street..i went to Arizona to visit my family..with my long hair “jerry garcia” look alike..anyway alot of people responded to the t-shirt and with alot of surprise to see something like that..it is a shame and pity that parents and society don’t wake up and see we are all human and if we keep living in our past’s like all the “OLD CONGRESSMEN” who won’t change law’s to protect the people who put them there and school’s that allow this to happen without any ramification’s is sad..exspell the bullies out of school..make them take anger mgmt courses..have them in school’s..anyway..i am sorry for the loss of your son and hope one peace will come to you again..

  66. Sage58

    I also know what it feel’s like…The dreaded fear of going to school everyday already knowing what’s in stor for you…My prayer’s are with the family.

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