Aiden, you are always in our hearts ♥ We love you ♥
The best memorial to Aiden is to stand strong for who you are,
Stand strong for those who are not like you…
For everyone to have their own safe and honoured place in their own way.
You are precious, just as he was.
Memories of Aiden.
L’il Dude, Big Heart
(Artwork © 2010 by estate of Aiden Rivera Schaeff)
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.
To help raise funds to establish the endowment, which has to reach a minimal amount of $50,000 in order to be perpetually managed by the university, we are offering this medallion for sale. The artwork on the medallion is Aiden’s.
For information on contributing to the endowment fund, and purchasing a medallion please click on the medallion or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a place to share stories, music, drawings, videos…
by, for and about Aiden.
This site will be permanent and so perhaps a better place to put things than Facebook. You can even copy and paste your posts from Facebook or other sites to here, post links to YouTube…
You can mail any content you want posted to email@example.com
Thank-you, Auntie Jenny
*** to add photos, video, music Please email me if you have things to add to the site. We are very happy to have any and all photos, videos that you have. Thanks, Jenny. ***
Angels come in so many forms, blessed are we that are touched by them whether we are aware of it at the time or not.
Aiden, I hope you’re well. I never knew you, but it’s obvious that you were a beautiful person. Rest in peace, buddy, and be happy.
i miss you! you will always be with me! ❤
I Miss You! Love You Tons. ❤ -Sam
I’ve been more sad lately than ever before. It seemed to come on suddenly. I just miss you everyday, and I need to actually deal with that, rather than dismiss it, which you always told me to do since we were freshmen. You are someone who made me grow everyday that we knew each other. I will always love you. Other than missing you terribly, everything is okay. I’m taking care of Mae, and my arms are open to any of your little girls that needs it. You are still so loved and never forgotten. I love you so much. Be happy knowing that although we all miss you, everyone is making it through it. You are wonderful and I can’t wait until I talk to you again. It’s been 2 months, but I’ll wait as long as possible.
You’re the fire and inspiration blazing inside of me. things are going to change, just wait and watch from wherever you are. i miss you. i love you.
I keep forgetting he is gone then come crashing into the truth again. This world is such a different place with Aiden not in it.
Where ever you are Dear Heart I hope you are dancing and playing and easy with yourself.
Always in my heart,
3 months baby. i miss you.
i hate the days that i pick up the phone and are half-way through his number and i remember. i hate the days when i pass his his house or stumble across an inside joke of ours or a place worth remembering. i hate the days where im doing something i know he’d love to be a part of. but i love the days where i can feel him watching over me and evryone else he loved back here. i love the days where i can tell the sun isnt just shining becasue its sunny, its shining becasue aiden told it too. Becasue he is sending his warm affection we all knew so much in the only way he can.
I didnt know u either, but to be ohonest it feels like i do, and if i did im pretty sure u would’ve been a great friend. So i just came here to say goodbye and that, even though i dont know u im gonna miss u. I just hope ur in a good place.
2 months baby, and i miss you like i did 2 months ago. i love you, forever and always
thanks mary for continuing the life of aiden …
Even though i dnt know you and that we’ve never met, i am also deeply affected by this, just like everyone else. and i have to admit, You were such a good looking guy too. you seemed like a really nice guy too, and i wish we had met before. so many people love you. so many pple care for you. and i respect you. i hope ur having a good time up there, in a better place. and who knows, maybe ill get to meet you one day
We all miss Aiden more than we could ever imagine. Even with all the pain we still carry all this amazing boundless love for him. Tuesday let’s all join our love together, knowing that he will feel it and that as we all connect to celebrate Aiden’s birthday, we can all share it. You have all known how he helped people, how important that was for him – so now gather your love, gather the love he felt for you and use it to bring you through these tough days. It is what we would have wanted, it is what he would have done. This is what would make him proud. Let’s make him proud. Let’s connect and amplify all this love so that it flows out into the world, making it a better place. Do him proud, love, live, make the world a better place – like he was doing. Hold on through the pain. Remember his smile. Remember his laugh. Remember, live, love, hold on. Hold on to the love, hold onto your commitment to carry on his dream to make the world a better place, for everyone. I know you, we can do this. Auntie Jenny
Well, its only been a month, but it feels like an eternity. I still see you everywhere i go, and it helps knowing your out there watching down on us. I miss you like crazy man, and i cant wait to see you again : )
i just wanted to let you know that everyone loves you and always will love you. You’re still talked about everyday about how amazing you are and how you touched everyone around you in such a beautiful way
we miss our aideybear
i cant wait to see you again
❤ we love you
I miss you, Aiden. I’m apprehensive of summer this year because we won’t be able to do all that we had planned, but you’ll still be with me in heart and spirit. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of you. You changed my life completely. I’m even thinking about majoring in psychology so I can help people, and hopefully, spare someone from this heartache that I feel and so many others feel.
I’m honored I got to speak to you in those last few minutes, but I’m sad we never got the chance to be what we had always talked about being.
Nonetheless, I love you. I always will, and I can’t wait to meet you again some day. (:
I have been working with and for Trans youth since 1996 in Canada (Vancouver and Montreal), including working at Project 10 in Montreal and now at Head & Hands / A deux mains. I’m a bisexual woman who identifies strongly as a Trans ally. Though I didn’t know Aiden personally, I have worked with, and know, many youth who carry parts of Aiden with them. I do know Jenny, and am moved to share a few thoughts for those who are accessing this site in this time of grief and questioning. I have listed some key support resources below.
When I went to the 2nd annual CPATH conference in Montreal this month, the results of the first ever extensive Canadian and U.S. studies on Trans people was released.* Everyone in the room fell silent when the statistics started to come up on the screens.
The rates of attempted suicide are out of control (above 50%). We KNOW that this is connected to the homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, harassment and isolation that trans people face daily, and this research now adequately proves this. Despite the best efforts of family members, friends and the greater community…we don’t have enough in place to ensure that youth that Trans youth are adequately protected and supported.
This research empowers lobbyists, legislators, activists, advocates and families in D.C. and around the world to make real changes…that will save lives. This is one the most important current battle grounds for Human Rights.
We know that Trans youth need a safe place where they can be heard, ask questions and get peer-based support. There are significant advantages to this place being outside of the family and being confidential. Trans youth also need access to primary medical care, psychological and other health services that are informed by community-based practice. Some youth chose to transition and some don’t. There is no one way to be. Regardless, youth need easy access to physicians who are informed and who can initiative hormone therapy for example, while having psychiatrists, endocrinologists and other providers in the wings for referral purposes as needed. Follow-up care is so important as we know that many changes happen and youth deserve this care over time.
We know that Trans youth face and survive violence and backlash in the home, regardless of whether or not they are ‘out.’ Sometimes they take off, staying with friends, other family members or on the streets. We need specific, accessible psychological support for families who have Trans and gender-questioning kids. We need safe shelters where Trans youth can walk in and be fully supported by staff. We need social workers and school counsellors and staff who are trained in GLBT issues and ready to act immediately when needed.
Yes, there are tons of crises and help lines for youth. How many of them actually advertise that they are open to gay, lesbian, bi, trans and gender questioning youth? We need front-line youth support organizations that are community, state/province or nation-wide to take the lead on these issues and recognize that more work has to be done to train their staff and adequately promote their resources – in particular to youth who are more at risk for bullying & discrimination. We need an anti-oppression approach to be applied to these resources.
Trans youth often turn to drugs and alcohol, as many youth do, but this can be a downward spiral for some. We need harm-reduction programs and addiction/recovery organizations and professionals to ‘out’ that they are trained on Trans and GLB issues and ready to work with youth in an empowering way. We need to find a healthy balance between partying and playing with fire in the GLBT community.
We don’t know what it would have taken to keep Aiden alive. I can see by this website that he was surrounded by love and unconditional support. But we do know that there is much work to be done, in all areas of life, to send a strong message to our Trans youth that they have a home, a community and a future – full of love, laughter, strength, health and opportunity.
In grief and in solidarity,
Marlo Turner Ritchie
Selected Resources for Trans and gender-questioning youth, families, allies, advocates, health and social service providers (please add others):
National Centre for Gay and Lesbian Equality http://www.thetaskforce.org/issues/transgender
*Results of the U.S. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Transgender Discrimination Survey Jaime Grant http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/fact_sheets/transsurvey_prelim_findings.pdf
Trans Youth – Linking you to resources – Extensive links to groups across U.S.
Hudson’s FTM Resource Guide (U.S.)
Canadian Professional Association of Transgender Health includes group mailing list / forums http://www.cpath.ca/
World Professional Association of Transgender Health includes group mailing list / forums http://www.wpath.org/
FTM International (CA, U.S.) includes group mailing list / forums http://www.ftmi.org/
Kingston, Ontario, Canada GLBT
Metro DC GLBT (U.S.)
IndyBoyz and SOFFAs – Significant Others, Friends, Families, Allies (IN, U.S.) http://www.indyboyz.org/
American Civil Liberties Union
PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Familes of Lesbians and Gays U.S. site – see “T-Net” section, specific community chapters) http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=380
TransFamily (OH, U.S.)
Trans Youth Network (U.K.) – includes message boards/forums http://www.transyouth.org/
TransYouth Family Allies (MI, U.S.)
“I am FTM” – message boards/forums (U.S.)
Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec ASTTeQ (en francais, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) http://www.cactusmontreal.org/fr/astteq.html
A deux mains / Head & Hands (bilingual, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) http://www.headandhands.ca
Project 10 (bilingual, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) http://www.p10.qc.ca/
Selected Books, Films, Pamphlets, Zines, Sample letters, Tip sheets etc (please add others).
10 Tips for Working with Trans People (TG Law Centre, CA, U.S.) http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/pdf/Provider%20fact%20sheet.pdf
Trans Forming Families by Mary Boenke
“Mom, I need to be a girl” by Just Evelyn http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Evelyn/Evelyn.html
Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam Amazon.com
Trans People in Love, editors: Tracie O’Keefe, Katrina Fox Amazon.com
GLBT Teens and Society by Jeanne Nagle
Films: (Which one is your favorite and why?) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transgender_characters_in_film_and_television
Harm Reduction, substance use, recovery etc. (please add others)
The Canadian Harm Reduction Network (U.S.) Youth specific resources and recovery support:
The Harm Reduction Coalition (Canada)
Four Pillars Drug Society (Vancouver, B.C. Canada) http://vancouver.ca/fourpillars/ (Trans youth welcoming)
Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse (harm reduction & youth) http://www.ccsa.ca/2006%20CCSA%20Documents/ccsa-11340-2006.pdf
Harm reduction, alcohol and youth – it works http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/youthissues/1046349581.html
(Addictive Behavior Research Center at the University of Washington, National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse for the National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Alateen & Al-Anon Family Groups Intl: Hope and help for those affected by a loved ones’ addiction http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/alateen.html (for teens & youth) http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
Drug Policy Alliance Network
Government sites (please add others)
New Democratic Party (NDP) Canada
Obama Pride (U.S.)
Teens, Youth and Drug Abuse (U.S.)
Tomorrow at my school we are having a pride assembly and I chose to speak about your story. We only knew each other when we were younger and since you were a year older then me I had always looked up to you. I’m really saddened about what happend. I hope that tomorrow I will be able to raise awarness. Also the money from the assembly raised will be donated to your foundation. I wish that tomorrow will bring insight to students and hope for the future that something so tragic will not happend again. Know that you are in my thoughts. Love you.
Thanks Kira! Cathy (aka Aiden’s mommy)
It’s been over three weeks and I still think about you every day.
You are hands down one of the most loving people I have ever met, and I kick myself regularly for not keeping in touch with you when I moved away. I wish I had been able to be there for you as you had been for so many people.
I hope you’re enjoying your little Hot Topic (with no price tags) in the sky, baby. (:
You will be in my heart forever.
We’re never saying goodbye.
You’ll always be my Peter Pan. ❤
I'll be seeing you.
i never had one conversation with you in my entire life, you probably didn’t even know my name, but i wanted to say i always had mad respect for you. R.I.P.
I miss you baby, every single day. Wherever you are I hope you’re happy and that you’re finally finding everything you couldn’t while you were here. I can’t wait to see your beautiful smile again.
you touched so many hearts and i think about you everyday your memory could never truly die. you helped me be myself and for that i could never love you more
one thing i regret is not makling you promise me that when you said you were coming back to school next year you would be there. and the last time i saw you was four days before. we made plans to hangout when you came to school.
i’ll still be there and i know you will too
and i also regret not telling you i loved you. the last time i saw you…but the last thing you said to me was….i’ll see you later.
I just read and reblogged Aiden’s story on Tumblr. I’m also an FTM and deeply saddened by this story. My thoughts are with everyone who is effected by his death.
I never knew you, but i wish I had.
I read a story about you on tumblr, and it really worked me up.
It seemed like you were an amazing person, and I admire you.