Excerpt from Cathy’s testimony April 7, 2011 before Maryland Senate sub-committee, in an effort to get legal protections for transgendered people:
Other supporters of the bill who testified included Catherine Schaeff, an Associate Dean at American University who lost her transgender son to suicide last year.
“My son took his life last April and a couple of days before he did so he was weeping and railing against life because he felt like he had tried everything,” she said.
“He had changed his name legally, he had taken hormones, he couldn’t go back to school, he dropped out … because he couldn’t take the harassment … and he just didn’t know how to go forward with it.
“We cannot help the people who’ve gone,” she added, “but we can help the people who are there now, and who are going to come along.”
Cathy, I am so proud of you.
Cathy, this is wonderful. I wish my laptop would let me listen to the entire testimony, but just knowing you and from reading this, i have no doubt that it was absolutely fantastic. If there’s anything I can do to support or help out with this, please let me know. I hope you and Patty are doing alright around now, I know it’s going to be hard the next couple weeks, but hang in there, you’ve been doing an amazing job so far. I think about you two a lot when things get rough at school, and it helps me keep my chin up and stay strong. <33
Cathy, I have known you since the very first day I met Aiden at RYA. We were both drawn to eachother and as I’ve said many times before, If I never met him or shared the relationship that I did with him, I would have done exactly what he did. We came out to one and other, which is something I never woulda have done without him telling me everything will be alright.
I myself have a wonderful mother who has tried to read and comprehend all about trans idividuals. My mother met Aiden on multiple occasions, sleep overs and what not and she knew how much he meant to me. Yet, now she is afraid to let me star testosterone because she feel like it played a role in his death.
You and Patty couldn’t have been better parents. You loved him through all of his endevors, younger and older. You let him drop out because of harassment and the harassment didn’t stop and I know that all too well. I myself dropped out of school because I was harrassed physically and emotionally. I even had to lie about the reason I was dropping out to my mother and teachers in fear that if I told someone and they actually took action against the individuals(that I never knew and still don’t to this day), that they would try to harm me outside of school. I may not have the funds to change my name or start hormone treatment, but the last 4 years I’m finally me.
Even after his death I am harassed, afraid of being in public for too long because I don’t look like my age or sound like it, I won’t apply for a job because I don’t want to hear my real name, and now I have PTSD due to the phyiscal harassment I received for almost 3 years at Rockville High. I know a lot of kids who have it the same way. I’m glad you are are stepping forward and trying what you can to gain rights for the trans community.
If you ever feel need for a youth advoicate, you can always contact me. I owe you and Patty a lot for bringing Aiden into this world and letting him live as close to the life he wanted to live as possible. You have always treated me as if I was your son. Some of my favorite memories of my time with Aiden is when I would come to dinner with just us four. I felt like I belonged somewhere for once. I never had a dad(as in helping raise me and being a part of my life), my mother has been working 2 jobs so we couldn’t ever converse about the life I lead and the person I am. Aiden loved you both a lot and greatly appreciated what you did to try to understand as best you could’ve.
Last, I daily help other FTM trans youth via sharing his story and posting this website. Multiple people have come forth and told me that my attempt his story in hopes none will end up in the same, and they told me has saved their lives. That you both… so much. I love you with all my heart and will always be your other son.
Love and Faith be with you,
Dr. Schaeff – your testimony yesterday before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee brought me to tears. I have no words. As a mom, my heart breaks for you.
Thank you for speaking out.