L’il Dude Big Heart
Aiden Rivera Schaeff was a Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student who entered ninth grade as a girl and after identifying that he felt more at peace as a boy, transitioned to his new identity without hiding who he was.
The school authorities were extremely supportive of his determination to live his life as who he was.
Some of his fellow-students were not as kind.
He committed suicide on April 22, 2010, one month shy of his 18th birthday.
Aiden not only had tremendous personal courage, he was also charming and fun-loving. At his memorial service, many of his friends noted that he had the singular ability to connect with others. His loss was devastating not only to his family but to the wide circle of people who had stood by his side as he made his remarkable journey.
His moms urge you to think about this: How you speak to others matters. Thoughtless, off-hand comments can literally kill people. Each of us helps to create the world. Be kind in it. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.
In honor of Aiden’s life, and in an effort to help other youths at risk to survive, we are establishing an endowment fund at the American University in Washington, D.C., to fund student-run initiatives aimed at: 1) Reducing bullying against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) high-school-aged youth, and 2) Helping at-risk youth to survive bullying when it does occur.