7 weeks on T, 21 Jan 2015
In 2008, this amazing kid, Aiden Rivera Schaeff, was my best man at my first wedding.
In April 2010, we lost our beloved Aiden to suicide. He was 17 and transgender.
(Below photo from allthingsaiden Tumblr)
That first year after his death, I created bracelets for his family’s initiative, L’il Dude, Big Heart, to raise money for his endowment fund at American University. I failed miserably as a fundraiser. Instead, I ended up just giving them away. It brightened my melancholy heart.
His family also created a place for loved ones to visit and remember Aiden. Please take a moment to get to know him a little better by stopping by his memorial page using the link at the top of this post or by going to the address below:
(Photo of original No More Meanies logo in 2011 and revised logo in 2013)
In 2011, the second year without Aiden, I started the anti-bullying “kindness campaign” called No More Meanies.
In the beginning it was a just a simple heart sticker with a kindness slogan.
But I wanted to always have a trans* friendly message too. I wanted it to honor Aiden and his brave journey.
This same year, I also set up a Twitter and Facebook account to help spread the good word.
(Below from Wikipedia) In 2013, I created a new logo with trans* flair that incorporated the kindness message and the trans* flag as a tribute to Aiden and other trans* kids like him.
I later turned a memorable photo of Aiden into a message of kindness and love.
(Photo of ARS, courtesy of Aiden Rivera Schaeff Estate)
(No More Meanies logo below)
Also in 2013, my partner and I helped my niece and her high school teacher plan the first gay pride event at a school in D.C. (The same school, Wilson High School, where an amazing and brave principal would come out at the following year. Pete Cahall is my personal hero!).
We also donated No More Meanies bracelets to the Wilson HS Gay Straight Alliance club.
In 2014, I decided to raise money to take No More Meanies to Capital Pride in D.C. It was amazing!
We shared Aiden’s story and handed out free anti-bullying stickers and bracelets to students and teachers.
I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family. ❤️
In 2015, I finally came out as trans*. The spirit of Aiden helped me find the courage to create a more authentic me.
I am now rallying everyone to join this kindness campaign to help spread kindness and love to all people. I also hope LGBTQ youth embrace this message and Aiden’s story.
Please spread the good word and join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Post photos of you with kindness messages and tag us.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved or if you would like to bring No More Meanies to your school or community.
Don’t forget to check out our Trans* Kindness Gear! If you decide to make a purchase, wait for a Zazzle sale. Items are often significantly discounted. 🙂
Post photos of you with your stickers or Trans* Kindness Gear and tag us.
Be kind. Be brave. Be you.
I think they had it right putting me in blue. Way back when in the ’80s colors designated gender. Good thing we don’t do that sorta thing today.
I have always loved ties. This was my first.
I always hated having long hair. It was a silent but joyful moment the day my mom waved her white flag and surrendered at the Battle of Hair (circa 1984-1987). She cut it all off. 🙂
Hey, look! It’s my teddy tee again! I loved that tee. Oh, and I’m the slob to the left. 😉
Can we get an amen?!
The obligatory mullet photo from the 1980s. This year or the one before, I went by the name Heath for a few weeks and prayed to God that he must have made a mistake. A few weeks later, I begged for forgiveness after I heard a fiery sermon that God doesn’t make mistakes.
I consider this my prison photo. Look how vacant our eyes are. This is the year our mom was on the run from the police and we were living with our aunt (she saved my life!). We also met our amazing older sister, Nicki (she gave me a future!).
Obligatory Nintendo photo (circa 1988-89).
I used to have a reoccurring nightmare that I had this hideous glow-in-the-dark Barbie with a frilly pink dress covered in stars.
When I was 18, my aunt gave me the news clipping above. Two things: 1) I look like I’m thinking, “WTF!” 2) I’ve NEVER used the word dolly to describe a toy. EVER.
This is me in drag. Middle school was an awful time. Everyone wanted to dress me up like their own personal doll (or dolly?). I was awkward and hating the changes in my body. I remember crying outwardly and inwardly about that hideous dress, that awful hair, and that caked-on makeup.
Fitting in in high school. Oh, and this is my BFF and her sister. I heart them both big time!
No longer fitting in. 🙂 My senior year of high school I decided to shave all my hair off one evening à la Demi Moore. I asked my BFF earlier in the day if she would still talk to me if I did that. That night, I left a cryptic message on her family’s answering machine simply saying, “I did what we talked about.” Click. We’ve been BFFs for almost 20 years now.
Me at 18 when my BFF was preoccupied in the other room with her boyfriend (and now husband). Lesson: never leave an Aitch alone with a marker!
My sailor ‘stache at 19. Don’t be jealous!
Pure happiness just being me. I miss those eyebrows.
How did I get off track later in my 20s? Why did I start to care what others thought? 😦
Thursday morning of this week, I posted this message below to all my loved ones on Facebook. I’m in a place where I have enough strength, courage, and love to take this leap and set out on a more authentic life journey. After making this post, I have only received loving words of kindness and support. I am SO lucky. I am super proud of myself too. 🙂
Hey, everyone! I woke up this morning with this extra amount of courage so I’m just going to put this out there (before my brain fully wakes up).
I wanted to tell you each about this journey I’m on in person but that’s not really possible. To be honest, I’ve always been on this journey but I wasn’t ready to accept it. I have finally come out as transgender (but have been living as such for years now with my partner, Shira) and am transitioning (I have been on T for 3 months now)! 🙂
I’m also planning to legally change my name to Aitch M. Alexandar down the road. There’s no need to call me by male pronouns right now because I don’t really feel my outside matches that part of me yet. One day it will, and then I will ask for everyone to call me by them. When that day comes down this very long, exciting, and intimidating road, then I hope you all will respect my request.
Simply put, for the longest time I was confused and thought I was gay but really I’ve felt trapped in the wrong body and gender. I have never identified with the terms lesbian, lady, woman, girl, chica, etc or the name Heather. Even in the military I loved that I was practically seen as one of the boys in my gender-concealing-blob uniforms and was able to go by my gender-neutral names of just Muirhead or Head.
This issue is something I raised in all my relationships quietly and with great trepidation as I tested the waters more and more after each relationship failed. But then I stifled it down out of fear of rejection or feeling like a freak. I was the one most afraid and ashamed.
I had also confided in my young teenage friend, Aiden, and told him how proud I was of his transitioning. I thought I was too old by then and that’s why Aiden’s death (and why I started No More Meanies) hit me so hard in more ways than one. That’s also why Holly leaving to be with a cis man hurt; it seemed to crush my soul for a while. I silently identified with Aiden on a personal level, and I secretly wished I was and looked just like Matty (holly’s current husband). I had so much love for both of these people and so many deep, dark secrets. I was scared to admit this all and didnt want to lose my loved ones. I’ve finally mustered up the courage and have the loving support I need (thank you, everyone, especially Shira, Shakia, and Shari) to live a more authentic life. I hope you all are a part of it too!