Bullied Gay Teen Who Attempted Suicide Dies in Hospital

Seth Walsh, a Californian teenager who spent nine days in hospital on life support following a suicide attempt, died Tuesday. His is the third death in as many weeks because of anti-gay bullying. 

TAKE ACTION: Help end anti-LGBT bullying!

13-year-old Seth Walsh (pictured) was found Sunday, September 19 unconscious and not breathing after attempting to hang himself from a tree in his backyard. Having slipped into a coma, he was airlifted to hospital and put on life support. He died Tuesday afternoon.

He is survived by his mother Wendy Walsh, grandmother Judy Walsh and three siblings. Said Judy Walsh of her grandson’s passing: “He passed away in a natural death. He is in the process of being an organ donor.”

Bullying over Walsh’s sexuality had been going on for years and even happened on the day that Walsh attempted to take his own life. A police investigation was launched but police have said that they can not take action against those who bullied Seth because this does not constitute a crime.

From KGET:

Tehachapi police investigators interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he hanged himself and determined despite the tragic outcome of their ridicule, their actions do not constitute a crime.

Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears,” Jeff Kermode, Tehachapi Police Chief, said. “They had never expected an outcome such as this.”

He said the students told investigators they wish they had put a stop to the bullying and not participated in it.

Friends said Seth was picked on for years because he was gay.

School administrators said they have an anti-bullying program in place, but schoolmates said staff at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi offered Seth no protection or guidance.

Walsh’s grandmother is keen to dissuade from blaming others:

Judy Walsh appealed for tolerance within the community.

“We are hoping the community will develop more tolerance for different people,” she said.

“He was different. He knew he was different,” she said. “He was a very loving boy, very kind. He had a beautiful smile. He liked fashion, his friends, talking on the phone. He was artistic and very bright.”

She said that no one person is to blame for Seth’s death. The family has appealed for kindness toward one another and for the community to reject vengeance and anger.

“We all let him down. It’s not any one person’s fault, or one individual.”

The following is a YouTube video Seth Walsh’s sister created before Seth passed away on Tuesday when there was still hope that he might recover. It’s message against bullying seems especially important now:

A memorial service for Seth Walsh will be held Friday, October 1.

This is the third death related to anti-gay bullying that has occurred in the past month. Many readers will be familiar with the awful story of Indiana teen Billy Lucas who, although not identifying as gay, took his own life a few weeks ago after a sustained campaign of harassment because of his perceived sexuality, a fact the school says it was unaware of.

Last Thursday, 13-year-old Texas born Asher Brown came home from school, took up his stepfather’s pistol, which was stored on a closet shelf, and shot himself. He left no suicide note, but his mother and stepfather believe they know the reason.

Asher had endured “constant” harassment at the hands of four other children at Hamilton Middle School in Houston. Despite his parents saying they complained to the school several times, school officials dispute that claim.

According to recent reports, this denial has greatly upset Brown’s parents:

School district spokeswoman Kelli Durham, whose husband Alan Durham is a Hamilton assistant principal, said no students, school employees or the boy’s parents ever reported that he was being bullied.

That statement infuriated the Truongs [Asher's mother and stepfather], who accused the school district of protecting the bullies and their parents.

“That’s absolutely inaccurate — it’s completely false,” Amy Truong said. “I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It’s like they’re calling us liars.”

David Truong said, “We want justice. The people here need to be held responsible and to be stopped. It did happen. There are witnesses everywhere.”

On the morning Asher killed himself, he came out to his stepfather, something that his parents say they accepted and did not judge him over.

The day before, his parents say Asher suffered being kicked down the stairs at school:

His most recent humiliation occurred the day before his suicide, when another student tripped Brown as he walked down a flight of stairs at the school, his parents said.

When Brown hit the stairway landing and went to retrieve his book bag, the other student kicked his books everywhere and kicked Brown down the remaining flight of stairs, the Truongs said.

Durham said that incident was investigated, but turned up no witnesses or video footage to corroborate the couple’s claims.

In the wake of events like these, it is important to not blindly point fingers or make accusations — but in general terms, it is clear that something is still going very wrong in our schools, and bullying based on a child’s perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity expression is still not being tackled properly, either because of a lack of training or, more frighteningly, because of personal bias that school officials may have against LGBTs as a whole.

And then there’s also the very real resistance anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family offer when it comes to LGBT inclusive anti-bullying policies, arguing that they are a back-door way for gay groups to infiltrate schools with their gay agenda.

I’ll put this bluntly: The only gay agenda in schools today is trying to make it through unscathed.

Don’t Suffer in Silence, Get Help

The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 helpline with trained counselors ready to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk about the issues dealt with in this post.

The Trevor Project Helpline number is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).

Trevor Project Links:

A fourth suicide this month relating to sexuality and bullying has been confirmed. Please click here for more information.


Christine Stewart

All those poor kids. Shame on the schools for pretending to be oblivious to the harassment- it was going on for years, in some cases! Parents need to be able to send their kids to a different school, or home-school if the school officials won't help.

Sue Aptaker
Susan Aptaker7 years ago

I am saddened by this story and by the grandmother's comment that this was a "natural death". I guess that it gives her some comfort to feel that, but to me this is the least "natural" death imaginable...this is a death caused by hate and terror. The bullies who prey upon these kids are no better than terrorists and hate criminals and should be dealt with as such.
As to the idea that this is because "there is no God in school" as many here are claiming -- I don't think so. Perhaps there is no God in the hearts of the bullies...or no peace or kindness, for those who do not believe in God. Surely something is lacking in them to cause them to create such an atmosphere of hatred for their peers.
My heart breaks with each of these stories as I think of the young people who are trying to forge their own identities and self-worth as they grow up in these difficult times.

Alexandra O.
Alex O7 years ago

These bullies need to feel what it means to suffer constantly. They are nothing more than a steamy pile of crap their parents created.

Calliope Skoumbourdi
Calliope S7 years ago

So so sad. How are these bullies created? How can children be protected against this horrible abuse? Is it not time to do something drastic about it so that not another life is lost. We have to stop the crime and cure the haters (bullies). What a waste of a young life. How sad and tragic. May God help the families of people who have lost beloved children.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin8 years ago

One suicide is one too many. The students engaging in bullying should be punished for it and so should their parents and the schools that do nothing to stop it. I myself is a survivor of ten years of repeatedly bullying out of a 13 year school attendance. In spite of my parents time and time again contacted the school leaders and demanded actions, they were met with a complete wall of "we don't have that sort of thing in our school"-attitude. Out of my first nine years in school I attended 14 different schools. I was the one removed. Not the bullies. And every time the new school's bullies found out the reason I had been transferred I became their new pet project. My grades suffered, of course, but the worst thing is that I have a real hard time accepting criticism of any kind. I lash out in self defence and this is all because of those ten years growing up in constant fear. The last time I was verbally attacked I lost my job because I defended myself by answering with even more verbal abuse against my attacker. So thanks all of you, now with well-paying jobs and successful lifes, that turned my life into a living hell! I hope you all have crappy end!

Paula Gillis
Paula G8 years ago

As for the person who blames taking God out of school as the issue, many of the anti-gay or anti gay/straight alliances are so called Christians. I am a Christian so I do know that everyone cannot be painted with the same brush but most fundamentalist churches consider homosexuality as a sin. The kids take their parents message to the schools. TYhey do not teach their children tolerance or accept the fact that people do no CHOOSE to be gay. The bible teaches that we are all born in God's image. But not the gays. Not according to fundamentalists. I know one woman who wonder's if she is sinning because she maintains a relationship with her grown son who happens to be gay.

Paula Gillis
Paula G8 years ago

Gimme a break. Evenif the parents did not report teachers know when a kid is being bulloied. My friend had a kid in her class and she let him "help her" at recess etc because she knew the bullying he shustained at recess and lunch break. Teachers come in two groups. Those who genuinely want to help the kids and those who are focused on academics because they are socially stupid. And they themselves can make the matters worse by subtly or not so subtly picking on the kids themselves.

A former teacher as well as a former receptacle of bullying. Not the GLTB stuff but just because.... And yes teachers were a part of this.

Kate Backer
Kate Backer8 years ago

I support gay pride.

Mari Rhame
Mira Rhame8 years ago

This is what happens when there is no God in schools. This is what can happen now to children who once upon a time never knew ...could be a child for a while... knew what it meant to be safe and have parents and families that really cared. To say nothing of all the devil type terrorisms on tv. Erection mentioned during sporting events SINCE 1970! and still ...no child is safe, no adult is safe either. Many of my ffriends are cancelling subscriptions to Direct TV, etc., cause they don't give a crap about anything but money and more of it. Morality is gone forever, sin is in. God help us for we are suffering so much.

Anja N.
Justin R8 years ago

Regardless of age, charge bullies with murder in the first degree. Let them rot in hell.