14-Year-Old Kenneth James Weishuhn Commits Suicide After Coming Out

A post on CNN’s iReports—which doesn’t vet or fact-check its content—is saying 14-year-old Kenneth James Weishuhn of Primghar, Iowa, committed suicide on Saturday night and was found dead on Sunday. (A funeral announcement seems to confirm the story.) Details are sketchy at this point, but James had been bullied regularly since he came out at school several months ago.

Below are some comments left on this tribute video made by his friend Brandi on YouTube.

* I am ashamed of the people who bullied Kenneth. i Didn’t know him but as a local gay kid, i know what he went through. Rest in peace, Kenneth. His friends and family is in my thoughts. I hope those responsible get justice. I can’t believe we live in a world where people still treat people so inhumanely.

*Justice will be served one day. When they stand before the Lord. they will be judged. He will choose the[ir] fate. For now, let’s not let this kid EVER be forgotten. Let his legacy and story be told around the world. Let his cause be carried on.

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  • wes

    why do these kids come out in high school knowing that high school age kids are basically a bunch of neanderthals.

  • Auntie Mame

    I think you mean “had been bullied” not “had bullied” as is currently written?

  • Hyhybt

    @Auntie Mame: @Auntie Mame: I sure hope so. Or perhaps “was bullied” would read better. But “had bullied”… of course, it’s possible that’s right and it’s not a typo, but then, that’s not likely, and if it were true then the whole tone of the article would be different.

    Often, that sort of quickie error doesn’t matter. But in this case…

  • Hyhybt

    …and it was fixed while I was typing a complaint. Sorry for piling on.

  • Andrew

    I agree Wes. I knew all about myself in highschool but I’m glad I did not come out at all since I was harassed, bullied, and depressed enough, and coming out would not have helped things.

    Rest in peace Kenneth.

  • xixax

    I just don’t understand why these kids are so quick with the suicide trigger. I was 14 years old when I came out in 1983 and believe me it wasn’t easy. However, killing myself never even crossed mind. I just don’t get it.

  • Ron

    His FB page is still up

  • trackster12

    Just so sad. I can’t believe this is still happening.

  • Shannon1981

    This has got to stop. Nevermind the whys and hows of them killing themselves at such an alarming rate. Just find a way to stop it.

  • Larkin

    The true crime is the church who makes people feel less than normal. He was a beautiful boy. It does get better, but this is the reason to support anti-bullying efforts everywhere. I can only imagine the pain this boy went thru before even considering this as an option.

    @ wes… don’t be a dick… at least not on this post. This isn’t the place for your cynicism.

    Let’s all do something to stop this in the future.

  • DouggSeven

    Thanks Kirk Cameron – getting on a soapbox and spewing your hatered that fuels millions under the guise of your bullshit, hateful religion claims yet another innocent life. The blood of these children is on the hands of every person who thinks being gay is evil and it is their duty to deny their fellow man’s basic human rights.

  • Larkin

    Kirk is a murderer. He should be put to death.

  • Hyhybt

    @xixax: There’s a lot of variability among individuals. Some people are simply nearer the border to begin with. Despair is an ugly thing… and some people’s brain chemistry makes them more susceptible to it. Depression to the point of being suicidal *can* happen even to those who have everything else going for them; but external causes can easily combine with milder levels for the same result.

  • Feinstein

    These kids have become cannon fodder on the frontlines of the culture war. It sickens me that I do not have the power to smite all of the lowlife pieces of shit calling themselves human beings that make life on this Earth a living hell for others.

  • Michael DeSelms

    @wes: Becuse this is the time your hormones start to act. You become the sexual human. If they can’t or shouldn’t come out…then why shall straight teens? Leave them both in the closet until graduation? This should be the time to freely learn to express your love and desires.

  • WillBFair

    From the very start, the IGB campaign should have included a strong warning not to come out until graduating from school and getting free of homophobic parents. But the campaign was started by Savage, not the brightest bulb in the flower bed. IGB might even have done harm by encouraging people to come out before it’s safe. And as usual, the community are too self involved to spend one minute crafting a better campaign message.

  • Lightning Baltimore

    @wes: It’s bad enough enough that much of the straight community blames young LGBT victims of bullying for bringing the abuse on themselves by simply existing. How callous can you be to join them in their scorn?

    Instead of blaming kids for coming out, perhaps you could do something to help young folks who are out? Something other than kick them when they’re down, that is.

  • Lightning Baltimore

    @xixax: News flash: everyone is different and not everyone is as strong as you allegedly were at that age.

  • MKisNE

    @wes: Because some friends are accepting of it. The problem is they don’t keep it a secret.. Word travels fast to the kids that aren’t accepting of it.

  • Feinstein

    We are not preparing children for the onslaught of vicious and negative reactions from the world around them. Yes, one gets stronger as one ages, but as a young person, the social shunning and abuse must be unimaginable. Now, we are seeing the abuse coming from politicians and people in the media. All of this takes a toll on the psyche, even for adults.

  • Troy

    With all due respect to my gay brothers and sisters, to those who stand beside us as straight not narrow. I think it is time we started fighting back for real. Let those who refuse to accept us, bash us, harm us let them now worry about there own lives which they take from us as well as take for granted. I am not saying we should start a civil war but we must protect ourselves.

    Wouldn’t it be great if all of us simply stop working for just one day. How much of the U.S. would stop. If we did this without warning.

    Not one more life should be lost. Not one more child. My this child rest in peace knowing that he will never be forgotten by us, by his family or friends.

  • scar

    @wes: stupid comments like yours are why bullying gets excused and kids die.

  • Mark

    “We do know that…..”

    Uhm, you don’t know ANYTHING. This is not news reporting. Something was uploaded to the CNN site “iReport” which is unchecked and then you took some comments posted on YouTube as factual without questioning.

  • Mark

    “Below are some comments left on You Tube by HIS FRIEND…”

    “….I didn’t know him but…..”


    Cracker-jack reporting there.

  • pedro

    I’m sorry, but I think to some extent this is a cultural thing…I’m not saying that Latinos don’t commit suicide, but it seems to me that there is definitely more of a “weakling” touchy feely culture among the white middle class in America nowadays, than in other ethnic groups…I think the whole sensitivity crap really isn’t helping matters…In my home, a man was suppose to just suck it up and move on. I have often criticized Latin “macho” culture for going too far…But there is something to be said for just manning the fuck up and going on with your life…

  • sonx

    how dare any of you say “i dont know why he came out because high school kids are so judgmental etc..”..it is exactly this kind of attitude that makes being gay so “weird” or “strange”..i commend any kid who decides to come out!..its hard and its scary..it is these kids who push the boundaries of the “social norm” who are paving the way for a more open and accepting world..and who the f**k says that someone who commits suicide is weak?..i’ll tell you whats weak..catty ass bitchy shitheads who come on sites like this and make callous comments about someone elses emotional state!..have a friggin heart..i sometimes wonder what side some of you people are on?..if you’re doing it for the sake of trolling then take a look in the mirror..im sure the warts and deformations will come in to view if you look hard enough!

  • jason

    It is one thing for a girl to stand up for a gay guy who’s being bullied but it is another for boys to do so. Where were the males? Why weren’t any males supporting him?

    The schools also needs to take some responsibility, and that includes the teachers and principal. Too often, teachers and principals don’t wish to get involved. However, it is precisely this ignorance and apathy which enables bullying. There should be zero tolerance approach to bullying.

  • Riker

    @jason: We don’t know if there were or were not any males supporting him. Don’t claim that there weren’t unless you have some sort of evidence of this; we don’t know all the facts yet. Actually, we know very very few facts here.

  • Bambi Bright

    @Wes you are the reason that things like bullying get excused and innocent kids try to escape. You may or may not be as strong as you put yourself out there o be, but lemme tell you this. It’s not an easy thing to come out before you’re an adult. I came out when I was thirteen and my entire life since then has been filled with prejudice and hatred. I’m sixteen now and barely getting by. I hope you can see what you’ve said is wrong- if not, you will eventually.
    Coming out as a girl isn’t a tough as it is for a guy- I know that, but it’s still hurtful when you’re bullied. Rest in peace, Kenneth, I wish I could’ve known you. You were never alone.

  • xixax

    Thank you for the insight. I’m trying to wrap my head around what these kids are going through.

  • R

    Every time I go to this page, today, I’m saddened knowing this otherwise happy boy isn’t here anymore and that he wasn’t allowed to be himself, because a minority of evil pupils deemed it so. Where were the teachers or parents in this?? Sometimes this world is nothing but disappointing.

  • Starry Eyed

    @Bambi Bright: Never lose faith, Bambi! I know life can be difficult sometimes, but it can also be beautiful, too. Make sure you are talking to those you can trust and hopefully life will get better for you in time. There is only one you – make sure others get the chance to know you. And who knows? You might change their lives and they may change yours, too. Keep being brave! :)

    And hopefully, as time marches on and more people change, sad stories like Kenneth’s will cease to exist. My heart goes out to him and his loved ones.

  • Conrad

    We don’t need to bash back — we need to come together. Would Kenneth have been bullied if he had a gay community to deffend him? Would he have coped with it the way he did if he had a queer support group? We need to take care of our own — instead of throwing money at organizations like HRC, shoot some money over to your local Gay-Straight Alliance in whatever high schools you’re near; support community pride gatherings; and do some volunteer work or mentoring with queer young people…

    God knows high school was tough for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to handle it if it weren’t the wonderful support network of my home LGBT community. Thank God for the gays.

    – 20 year old gay boy, former high schooler.

  • Martin

    @Michael DeSelms: @sonx: @scar: Wes is offering alot more of a solution to this problem than you with your empty indignation.
    In the best of all worlds teens should of course come out the minute they feel convinced of their sexuality. There shouldnt even be a closet that gays go into in the first place.
    Look around does this look like the best of all worlds? Its all very well to insist on principles and the individuals right to self-expression but it looks like an established fact that these teenagers cannot handle the social stigma their surroundings attach to being gay. The simply dont have the strength of personality that comes with experience and maturity. Asking them to come out at a time when the self is so frail and ultimate importance is attached to the collective opinion in the peer-group is just stupid.
    In the real world homophobia is a fact. It takes strength to fight it and to dare be different. These teens dont have it and so they should stay in the closet until time is ripe.
    The fight for acceptance of gay rights is not their fight yet. Let them come to maturity first

  • JKB


  • Adrian

    @xixax: yep I totally get what you’re saying. I came out in high school in the mid 90s and used my out presence to answer other kid’s questions about my “gayness.” I took it as an opportunity to educate others.

    sure there were some bullies but in most cases the positives always outweigh the negatives.
    I no longer feel sorry for these teens who commit suicides. I do however feel sorry for family and friends of these kids.

  • jt

    @wes: Staying in the closet isn’t necessarily going to deter bullies. It doesn’t matter if you are out or not- in fact, it doesn’t even matter if you are gay- there are people who will bully you if they perceive you to be gay. It’s probably impossible to go a day at school without hearing somebody being called a faggot/homo. And even if the word isn’t directed at them, even just overhearing it, what does that do to a gay kid’s self-esteem knowing that the word “faggot” is the number one insult among their peers?

  • cam

    This is why I get so disgusted when people try to claim that by not agreeing with Sara Palin or Rush Limbaugh you are bullys.

    This is what bullying can do to it’s victims. It isn’t about some overpaid folks who don’t want to be called out when they say something stupid.

  • Elly


    Irregardless of the case at hand, I’m going to agree with you. I think a lot of gay media puts out a very rose tinted view of the world, coming out will solve all your problems and you’ll be Kurt Hummel and everyone will love you. People are coming out unprepared and unable to cope with the aftermath because they are too young, and somebody needs to make them aware of what they’re getting themselves into.

  • Brian Engel

    These stories make me cry! I’ll admit it!….Real tears!

    I’m a straight senior citizen who’s been gay friendly since I’ve known what “gay” was! I’m sorry, but I don’t HAVE any answer for this. No, it’s not just a “gay issue.” Think of all the “skinny runts” the “fatsos” the “nerds” that poor kid in a wheelchair/on crutches. Yes, we ALL suffer. Yet, it seems the gay community gets the unproportionately large share of this.

    Please posters, allow me to address the SCHOOL BOARDS here. If I were a teen today I’d like to know why I’d be suspended for wearing a “Gay is OK” t-shirt, yet when I bully an innocent kid to commit suicide, nothing happens to me. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” (Mark Twain) Any answers? Quit hiding in your offices! Step out here in front of the cameras/microphones and start answering our civilized questions! Are you afraid of being “bullied”? Are you afraid of looking stupid or “nerdy”? Come on school board members! Pull you heads out of the clouds, the sand (and that part in between!) Show us how “tough” and “right” you really are!

    I truly believe this action would prove more useful than, it’s the “____’s” fault! Let’s demand answers! No falling for that “We’re investigating the situation,” “We’re reviewing this,” or “We’ll get back to you on this.” They don’t! They run and hide, hoping everything will “blow over.” We have to keep after them….constantly!….For YEARS if necessary. Keep after them until they “show” and start answering questions!

    Posters: Put out the school’s website! Let’s fill their “In Box” with questions we want answered. Be polite. Ask civilized questions. Questions you KNOW they’re afraid to answer! I was “disowned” by my family not for being gay, but for being STUPID! (i.e., anyone who doesn’t AGREE with them!) I offered them professional family counseling on TWO occasions. I agreed to do all the traveling and pay the expenses….NOT! They’re “right,” they just can’t prove it!

    “First God created idiots….This was for practice….Then He created school boards.” (Mark Twain)

    “If Jesus were to ever return to this earth, there is one thing he wouldn’t be, a Christian.” (Mark Twain)

  • Auntie Mame

    I wonder if school officials were trying to help or if they were showing pictures of their grandchildren.

  • Paul Mc

    @wes ET al. Why should it be the gay kids who have to stay in the closet? You or I have NO control or influence about who comes out and when. It is much better to shutup than tell other gay kids that ‘look what can happen – better stay in the closet cos we can’t do a damn thing to help you’. You’re sending a message right now, right today that the situation is hopeless. It is NOT hopeless. The Trevor project is there. Other helplines are there. Schools are more aware. There are more GSAs every day. There are more state laws on bullying. This kid slipped through like too many others. The evidence is out there. If you have a supportive home and family and friends you are less likely to attempt suicide. Who knows what part was missing from this kids life. Your message is a blanket ‘stay in the closet until you are older’.

    “I no longer feel sorry for these kids”. What an awful thing to say. Your blaming the kids for their predicament. Each person copes to greater or lesser extents. There are multiple factors that subtle and pernicious. I wouldn’t let you within miles of anyone needing real help.

    Let me make it clear.

    UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD. That’s what it takes to make a difference in the unique individual case.

    Frankly you are part of the problem.

  • Larry

    people pontificating about their personal positive experiences mean nothing…this poor kid lived in BFE iowa…the religious nuts and haters must have been everywhere. I agree that coming out too early in the wrong places can be a problem.

  • sonx

    @Martin: i hear where you’re coming from..but im not quite sure if anybody actually “has” what it takes to come out..im not even quite sure what that would be?..should it take strength to be yourself??..or should it just be??..i believe that in saying it takes a certain “maturity” to come out is kinda off base..its almost as though you’re just reinforcing the fact that we are SOOOOO different..just my opinion i suppose..

    for every person that comes out..regardless of age..another wall is broken down..the definition of what “being gay is” becomes blurred…and it gets GLBTQ a little closer to NOT having to acquire a certain strength,maturity etc..in order to just simply be what you are..

  • Belize

    @Martin: I understand where you are coming from but I do not think that you should generalize teenagers because there are a lot of teenagers out there who are capable of handling situations like this. It is very easy to see it as a dire picture when we read tragic stories like this. That much I’ll admit. Stories like this break my heart. I wish Kenneth had it better. But what about those who did not commit suicide after coming out? There are a lot of them but they do not get a story from CNN because, apparently, that is not newsworthy.

  • Belize

    @wes: Perhaps it’s because they’re not as cynical as you are.

  • cam


    I get what you’re saying, the problem is, it isn’t much different from telling women to dress up as men because men have it easier or for black people to put on make-up and pretend to be white.

    There are homophobes out there, and if coming out will get them kicked out of their house etc… then absolutly they should figure out a way to get into a better situation or wait. But I also don’t like making a blanket statement of “Things might get bad so hide.”

  • lizcivious

    Tolerance and acceptance should be taught as soon as a kid enters a classroom. Why should gay kids have to hide who they truly are until they’re out of school? The kids who bully are the ones who need to be educated or punished for their actions. Why deny gay kids the fun of dating and proms? They should be able to enjoy their teen years the same as the straight kids. Besides, it’s not just gay or perceived-to-be-gay children who get bullied. It’s anybody who doesn’t fit the “norm”. Kindness and empathy must be made an important part of school curriculums. This beautiful boy should still be with us.

  • Hyhybt

    @Brian Engel: Wonderful. So: demand information before the people you’re demanding it of have gathered it? Feels good, but makes no rational sense. Why would the school board know anything about a particular student until *after* something goes wrong? Their job is to set policy and hire teachers and administrators. If something bad happens, then they might replace someone or change policies if need be… but first, they have to find out what really happened, and both more surely and in more detail than they could possibly have the moment something hits the news.

    Beyond that, so many of these comments make me wonder if you folks remember school at all. Don’t come out, then nobody will bully you? The most polite word to describe that is “nonsense.” Other kids pick up on it anyway… and if they’re mistaken, it doesn’t matter. Not coming out may be necessary if you would get thrown out of your home, and it may be a protection if the bullies at school don’t catch on to you anyway, but it’s far from a cure-all, and keeping something that big secret is, as y’all *shouldn’t* have to be told, a heavy burden in itself.

    As for punishing the bullies… great idea. But what is an appropriate action for teachers to take when there’s no proof of who is telling the truth? I don’t, of course, mean that all of them care, or even that there are none who are on the bullies’ side anyway. But often they wind up in a pickle because, in order to punish someone for doing something, you must first make sure they really did do it, and bullies usually have the sense to behave when they’re being watched.

  • leet

    @ pedro

    I agree with you, I am half latino and white, and there’s just something that’s innate in our up bringing that makes us rise above. It’s probably the whole minority thing, but it really is an undercurrent that gives us the strength to weather shit like bullying and generally a crappy life.

  • Lightning Baltimore

    @Martin: “Wes is offering alot more of a solution to this problem than you with your empty indignation.”

    Baloney. Wes is not offering a solution; he’s passing judgement on the dead.

  • Dr. Norman C. Murphy

    @Larkin: Kirk Cameron is the dupe of the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. They have been producing false and not peer reviewed research for years. Kirk is the victim of his fame and ignorance. Certainly, he is to blame for blatantly denying the facts and perpetuating myths that promote hate and bullying. @Larkin: @Larkin:

  • Axel Rod

    @wes: So you’d rather have them suffer even more in silence?

  • lubbockgaymale

    @wes: Maybe they come on out because they’re not ashamed of who they are, and don’t want to hide anymore. From my experience, most ‘homo-haters’ of that age are guys who are still unsure of themselves… not all, but many. But remember, at 14 yr old most kids aren’t socially or politically adept, and have trouble dealing with ‘newness’ or ‘differences’.

  • Loren

    Being a former Mormon, I saw and still see that the gay teens are the most spiritual, the kindest, the most gracious of the Mormon youth. Rather than embracing that God given beauty, more times than not, the Mormon parents and community kick these beautiful souls out often with just the clothes on their backs.

    Over a thousand species have been observed to have homosexuality in their members. That is common and part of nature. What has only been observed in one species is hatred, bigotry, judging. That is only found in the human species. They are the deviants in the natural world.

    I love the movie FAQS. In the movie, the subject of straights bullying is talked about. The thought is to kill all straights. Not with guns or explosives but by being as open as possible, kissing our loved ones, holding hands, so they know we are real and we are normal.

    Young people, those coming out, you gotta know we are everywhere. We are a critical part of making this society keep working. Don’t think any less of yourself for being who you are, gay. The bullies, the conservatives, the religionists are telling lies…we are great, we are loving, we are kind, we have every right to everything anyone else has.
    Loves and hugs.

  • Axel Rod

    @Loren: I was waited by my baptist mother and Penecostal grandmother, and I was kicked out at 14 for being gay, I don’t think that sort of hatred is religion specific.


    Being left-handed or being gay is just as natural. Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus 18:22 should be immediately banned for promoting hatred against minorities; namely the gay community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches.

    The evil writings in Leviticus 18:22 against gays depict; rules for temple rituals or “P” … Priestly Rules & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious frauds to attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public but to priests. Leviticus exists in the old testament & torah & were written long after Moses; 600BC.

    “It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy.” To see the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is shameful.

    It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return … it is something that should be celebrated! If it is between two guys or girls all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!

    How would you like it … if hate speech was directed to your brother or sister as you sat in the pew; spewed by some better than thou religious lunatic with a hateful black book about Leviticus — under his arm?

    The pope and churches fully aware that Leviticus 18:22 applies only to priests; refuse to remove this stigma maliciously persecuting gays – and many kids bullied into suicide …!

  • Martin

    To all those saying its unfair that the gay kids should hide in the closet : Of course it is unfair. But like Marcus Aurelius said “God give me strength to change what i can and bear what i cannot change and wisdom to know the difference”.
    These kids are immature. Their self-confidence, self-reliance and personal strengths in general will increase with age. 21 is very different from 15. At that young age children are going through puberty and are very insecure. Moreover their environment is a given thing that they are stuck in. They live at home. They cant move. At 19-21 they can move and choose their own place to live, maybe a bigger city with other gay people or just more cosmopolitan straight people. It happens all the time
    The internet and ease of information means that young peoples gay sexual identity crystallise earlier and possibly so early that they do not yet possess the strength and the freedom of action to carve a life for themselves. That takes some maturity. Some unlucky kids feel caught in an everyday life which is hell with bullyong and loneliness when they in fact nerd a circle of friends to use as a mirror to form their identity. They cant get out of it and so they take the ultimate way out. Others are luckier with supportive friends etc.
    Young ppl need to look what their reality is like before coming out. Its tough but thats how the world is?

    About latinoes being tougher: maybe. But do they come out as young as this, or do they generally wait a bit longer because of catholic families etc? I dont know?

  • antonio

    @Auntie Mame: I think you meant to say “meant” and not mean as currently written.

  • Charles Jackson

    If any prejudice jerk-off feels the urge to bully a gay person please come do it to me. I’ll kick their arse or die trying!

  • Geron

    @xixax: ANSWER: Facebook/MySpace/etc. It doesn’t stop when they leave school, like it did for you. It’s constant 24/7.

  • Jerry

    How horrible!!! Yet again we have lost another of OUR children. He could have discovered a cure for cancer. Perhaps he wuld develop a means to break the speed of light. Sadly, we will never know to what level of greatness Kenneth could have risen to. I was a “child of the South” in the 1950’s and learned from my mother that children are not born bigots – they are endoctrinated into this despicable behavior by the tolerance of our schools, the hatred of their parents and and the demi-gods in our churches. A parent saying “boys will be boys” is just another excuse for bigotry to thrive. From the pulpit we hear that we do not have the right to exist – we are degenerates – we are an abomination or whatever the terms used to make bullying an acceptable form of action against anyone that is different from the bully. As long as schools do nothing, the parents keep prodding their spawn to hate others and our “men of god” keep up the drumbeat, children will continue to “take the easy way out”. Sad, so very sad. ALL of us are lesser for this child’s death.

  • Alexi3

    I can’t believe some of the posts I’ve been reading. If we can’t manage to feel sorry for these kids, who will. I was depressed and disappointed enough when I read of this poor boy’s suicide, but, some of these posts are more than disappointing; they are disheartening and I am ashamed that people who should know better can be so callous. I was brought up in a very small town in Pennsylvania where anyone who was in any way “different” was looked on with suspicion. I never saw a black person and I was a Junior before the first Hispanic enrolled. There was a group of kids who didn’t take the college or business prep. courses and instead were enrolled in the “shop” classes; learning a trade. There was this one kid in this learning a trade group who hated me because I was gay and he made my life miserable whenever I happened to run into him. One day while he was making my life a living Hell, the kid who was the leader of this group, his name was Kerry, happened by and saw what was going on. He waded in and stood between me and my tormentor and told him to leave me alone or he’d make him leave me alone. He then threw his arm around my shoulder and walked along the hall with me. This act of kindness made all the difference in the world to me in my young life and I have never forgotten it. You, me, anyone can make a huge difference in someone’s life if we just have the courage. Kerry’s example has stayed with me and I have always tried, ever since that day, to stand up for anyone who is not in a position to fight back and I’ve made it a strict rule that anyone who works for me or under me knows that if I discover that they have bullied or discriminated against anyone for any reason they had better start looking for another job. I believe that Kerry’s act of kindness has been passed on to many other people through me and I will be forever grateful for his actions and the Life lesson it taught me.

  • ibernard

    @wes: why shouldn’t this boy be able to come out? Being a neanderthal isn’t a crime, it’s a level of stupidity. Kenneth should have been able to do what he wished, and the school admin ought to be accountable for what he went through at school – straight to explusion.

  • Dan Rue

    @Andrew: The alternative – not coming out – is soul-crushing. Telling kids not to accept themselves or hide themselves is definitely not the answer. Building social opposition to bullying is what we need to focus on – to curb the bullies’ behavior and to let the kids who are bullied know that their different-ness is not the problem.

  • Steve

    @WillBeFair agreed. Savage is also a hypocrite, bully, and he’s biphobic, r_acist, and transphobic.

  • LadyL

    Adding my two cents on two points here: @WillBFair (ironic name considering the post): Not at any point in the It Gets Better campaign has Dan Savage and his partner Terry insisted youngsters should come out before graduation from high school and freedom from parents. That accusation misunderstands the reason IGB was even begun. It was always meant to offer support and comfort (and possible resources) to LGBTQ youth wherever they happened to be in the coming out process (including not out at all), and in fact Savage has cautioned that coming out may not be wise if you’re a kid living in a conservative/religious community without a support system of any kind. You’re entitled to dislike the guy, but let’s not indulge that at the expense of the facts.

    Furthermore, the notion that you or I or Savage or anyone can just tell kids to wait awhile before coming out betrays a complete lack of understanding about, well, human nature and especially the complexities of young impulsive minds. People come out in a variety of ways and for a variety or reasons and that’s as true for young people as full grown adults. I’m sure some kids have come out early because they thought the support was there, only to watch it evaporate after the deed is done and the backlash starts to hit the fan.

    Secondly, @R: I hear what you’re saying in wondering where the parents and teachers are when the bullying is going on and gay kids are becoming suicidal, but the depressing truth is that parents and teachers are often a huge part of the problem. Either they choose to dwell in oblivion and denial until it is far too late to help, or are themselves bullies whose hypocrisy and condemnation make LGBTQ kids feel that much more desperate and alone.

  • Mikey Rox

    FYI, CNN iReport does vet and fact-check some of its posts, so it’s rather irresponsible to claim that it doesn’t. Vetted reports have a CNN logo that says approved on them. I submitted an iReport on gay bullying the day before Tyler Clementi’s death and a producer called me to verify facts; it appeared on the CNN.com homepage later that morning. Perhaps your team should check its “facts,” Queerty.

  • PeterPiperBoy

    My condolences to the family and friends of this remarkable and extraordinary young man! R.I.P. Kenneth James Weishuhn!

  • Massimo Pibia

    Hello to all !I am writing you from Italy and i was very saddened by the sad history of suicide of Kenneth James Weishuhn.I can’t believe that in 2012 can still be the homophobia that brings you to kill you with your own hands.we should rebel against the ignorance of people and try to combat it.we have the right to live their own life and nobody can afford to depart .My thoughts go to the parents of the boy and the committed suicide and also to all those that for him are suffering .i invite the parents and all to have to roll our sleeves and to combat once and for all the ignorance and homophobia!There should be no more than the deaths suicides! Ciao .Massimo Pibia from Sardegna -Italia-

  • Joshua Milks

    This is very sad. Rest in peace Kenneth.
    Kenneth was not alone. Think of the high teen suicide rate. Lots of children kill themselves before they have the chance to come out. I’ve talked to few kids that were considering ending their own life. It’s very sad. Lots of ignorant people will say it is because they are weak or shouldn’t “choose” that way of life. If it was really a choice, a kid wouldn’t kill himself over Something if he could choose different. When a child feels Unaccepted by everyone he loves (his family), because he believes his family won’t accept him, in many cases he would rather die than come out.
    When I was Kenneth’s age, I would go downstairs in the middle of the night and hold a knife to my chest. I would cry and curse at the lord for not giving me an option, curse at the lord for damning me to hell from birth. I
    My cousin who is older than me was ‘t accepted by her father and was constantly told she wasn’t right and her ways were evil. She then led a life of drugs and crime. If a child isnt showed love, no matter what the situation (homosexuality is just a common case), then the child has a high probability of being unsuccessful. It is a miserable life. I feel for Kenneth and everyone else in his shoes. There are many… I know many… Including children of pasteurs.
    By living in a world unaccepting of homosexuality, we are harming a large minority of our youth. This is a very sad story and only just one example of what is going on in every school. Chances are that at least one in ten children are gay. How many children are feeling Unaccepted. I don’t understand how anyone who has a child could be against homosexuality. If you really love your child, you would let them know you would love them no matter what. Do not show them closed minded hatred. How is that a way to raise a kid.
    Homosexuality is very natural and is not wrong just as contraception is not wrong. If you have ever eaten shellfish or talked down upon polygamy, how could you say homosexuality is wrong.
    Hopefully more people are touched by Kenneth’s story, because this world has got to stop its close minded hatred.

  • Danny

    People will give lots of platitudes. Punish the politicians and religious leaders who violate the human rights of LGBTA people and the world gets better immediately.

  • darkmoonman`

    @Shannon1981: This will stop when the public at large no longer listens to the Religious Reich.

  • Curtis

    wow. a least a lot of people cared about him. if i died tomorrow nobody would care except my mom.. true story.
    And he seemed like such a sweet guy. And people like me with no friends at all will probably live forever.
    Its not fair for him. I with i could trade places with him.

  • Aaron Fricke

    I know that it seems mind boggling that gay kids are suddenly killing themselves, but I think that the reality of the situation is that it only seems like more gay kids are killing themselves because in the past nobody talked about it and the media definitely didn’t report it. It’s true that newspapers and mags are only reporting on this tragedy in order to sell more copies – but who cares if it keeps people talking about it until someday somehow we come up w/ a solution to this terrible ongoing problem of young people killing themselves

  • billeeboy

    @wes: Lovely! Blame the victim why don’t ya!

  • billeeboy

    Lovely tribute, Brandi! Kenneth’s death is so sad. Parents need to make sure they raise there kids so that they do not become bullies. My heart goes out to Kenneth’s family and friends……

  • Massimo Pibia

    Kenneth James…ora sei un Angelo nel cielo ! spero sia fatta giustizia a coloro i quali ti hanno tolto la voglia di vivere!La tragica notizia della tua morte ha sconvolto anche noi italiani ! Angelo del cielo…riposa in pace e.. se puoi da lassu’,dai la forza ad altri ragazzi di vivire.Ti vogliamo bene.Ciao

  • Massimo Pibia

    Kenneth James…ora sei un Angelo nel cielo ! spero sia fatta giustizia a coloro i quali ti hanno tolto la voglia di vivere!La tragica notizia della tua morte ha sconvolto anche noi italiani ! Angelo del cielo…riposa in pace e.. se puoi da lassu’,dai la forza ad altri ragazzi di vivere.Ti vogliamo bene.Ciao

  • jayson

    it’s really sad to here these kinds of news… my heat goes out to the family and friends he left behind…

  • jayson

    @jayson: *HEART

  • Jaack

    I feel a pain inside me that there wasn’t someone anyone who could have helped Kenneth from the pit of despair. I know only a part of what he went thru since I was in Catholic schools. The abuse by priests overshadowed the CRUELTY that kids do to other kids. Don’t forget those who BULLY have low self-esteem. They need an outlet and anyone else can be and are their targets. I blame school officials for not being proactive to deny bullies a place in school. MTV and any media that markets and want our money must realize they can do so much to turn the tide of despair and to lose all hope or confidence at the last straw results in suicide. America cannot tolerate the loss of us, the young Americans. We are America, not the smug politicians, we have the energy, imagination, we have a view of the world not so fixed in stone like my parents. I live outside NYC and think that places like Iowa must be so difficult because towns are so small end everyone has their nose in your business. Don’t blame Kenneth for coming out, we must never deny who we are. “To thine own self be true”. You will be sorely missed.

  • Jaack

    @Curtis: Curtis, NEVER EVER give up, you have friends here, Don’t forget that for a second. Even if you think you have no friends. No you don’t want to be another government statistic that gets put away in a file cabinet after the media goes to the next sensational piece of “news”. Just to sell papers, slick mags, or market the next craze. You really don’t want to trade places, your folks wouldn’t want that for you. Keep the faith. It sounds cliche but “IT DOES GET BETTER” even it happens so slowly you hardly notice the changes.

  • Jaack

    We must protect each other. I am picked on all the time because I am not Christian but Buddhist. Our beliefs in the respect for the individual & the sacredness of all life makes me the strange guy. The nerd with glasses and bad skin cause my family isn’t rich for treatment. But I believe we must protect ourselves. Take the time to get involved in our government because one day everyone will be old enough to vote and to politicians votes matter. Get the schools to help, putting real help in place for kids that can’t take any longer.

    We cannot stand by doing nothing while another person suffers in silence till they break. Reach out to the geek, nerd, to those left out. You will never know who you will find, a diamond in the rough. Another Bill Gates or Steve Jobs could be sitting close by to you and is aching for a friend.

  • KyleW

    It’s fine for everyone to have a go at those who suggest that kids should not come out. I’m sure in your wonderful idea world, EVERYBODY should come out as soon as they know, and then they can just deal with all the agony whilst the world gradually sorts out its attitude.

    But in the meantime, people are committing suicide AS A DIRECT RESULT OF COMING OUT.
    Yes the world is hateful to them, yes they are the victims, but the fact is, high school is the most toxic environment most of them will ever compulsorily find themselves in, and they have enough pressures with education and puberty. The last thing they need is the daily stress of being vilified for who they are.

    If women kept getting raped walking home along an empty stretch of road, you’d tell them to go a different route, even though the rapist is the one at fault. How is this different? These kids are willfully, naively putting themselves in harm’s way.

  • Hyhybt

    “one day everyone will be old enough to vote”

    Talk about a declining birthrate! :)

  • Pete

    I’m coming up on the 30th anniversary of my best friend’s suicide; he’ll be 22 forever. Since his death, Jack, Karl, Eddie, Don, Bruce, Larry, Gene, Everett, Steve, Michael, Mike, Tim, and other friends have ended their lives rather than deal with the constant pressure of leading double lives. All my gay friends are dead, and I’m afraid to get close to another person for fear that I just can’t bear the loss of another friend.

    After Tim’s death, his father mustered up enough balls to come visit me to say that he was about to tell Tim that he accepted him even though he was gay. I regret my reply, “You’re two weeks late, and your son never stopped loving you, his bullying brothers, and he believed in God contrary to your snarky remarks.” I walked off; let him live with the guilt.

    Kenneth’s mother doesn’t want to ruin somebody else’s life – really? How inconvenient that her gay son is dead because even that bitch didn’t stand up for him. Yes, by all means protect the punks that ruined his young life; it is polictically correct.

  • Nicoletta

    I think they must do coming out for themself above all!…they must live in peace with themself…like everybody. Society must change and adapte not them. Sorry for grammar mistakes, but I’m italian and I’m not very well in english. I SAY NO TO HOMOPHOBIA.

  • Jaclyn

    @wes: All teenagers are finding their identity.

  • Dr. Fat Albert PhD


  • Kayla

    @wes: Why should they have to hide who they really are?

  • Jason

    Every time I hear or see something like this online about GLBTQ individuals or in general its like my eyes blaze with rage and I feel like hauling up the assailant by their shirt collar and just give them a stare or glare like “you feelin’ lucky, Punk?!” or say how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of your own treatment? I don’t tolerate bullies and if I saw it happen, oh yea, my voice would be raised or I’d “roar” something like “back the h*ll off.” Its unfortunate that young people end up using a permanent solution to a temporary yet prolonged problem. If some people have nothing better to do than harass, belittle, and degrade a person they’re the sad pathetic individual. Kenneth’s family is in my thoughts and they’ll hopefully be able to heal

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