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This is Aiden. Pretty cute, right? He looks like your average, fun loving teenager.

But he isn’t. He wasn’t.

Aiden no longer walks this earth with us. Why? 

Aiden wasn’t always Aiden. When he was born, he was a girl by the name of Caitlin. When she hit highschool, Caitlin began to feel as though something wasn’t right. At first a lesbian, Caitlin realized that perhaps she wasn’t even Caitlin. Perhaps she wasn’t even a girl. That’s when Aiden was born. 

The school that Aiden and I attended tried to accommodate Aiden’s needs as best they could. They gave him the key to the one stall unisex teacher’s bathroom, they tried to change his name from Caitlin to Aiden on all of his classes’ rosters. But not everyone could be so kind. Some teachers treated him differently, even refusing to call him Aiden. And the students? They called him cruel names, made fun of him, and even referred to him as a girl expressly against his wishes. I was so proud of Aiden when he got his name legally changed as well as his gender. I remember being elated when he told me he was going to start testosterone. He was finally getting what he wanted. He was going to make his outside match who he was on the inside.

Unfortunately, he dropped out of school in the middle of his junior year, unable to take the taunts anymore. He told me he was going to come back when his year graduated, and graduate with my class.

That never happened.

On April 22nd, of 2010, sometime in the early hours of the morning, Aiden hanged himself.

At approximately 9:10 that morning, I found out that one of my dearest friends committed suicide. I honestly can’t find words to describe the hollowness I felt.

I’m sure there were other extraneous reasons that caused him to take his life, however it is certain that the years of torment he endured, the torment that lasted up until his final days, was a leading factor in his decision to kill himself. 

This bullying, the bullying that stole one of my favorite people from me can be stopped. But it won’t go away on it’s own.

It’s up to you to take a stand against these acts of unkindness. If you hear someone in the hallway say the word “fag”, or even worse, if you see a peer being harassed, don’t just walk away. Say something. Stand up for the kid, or make it known that some people are offended by the cruel words others use. Losing a good friend is one of the most terrible feelings I have ever experienced, and probably will ever experience. And worst of all, it could happen to anyone. 

Reblog this post if from now on you will make it one of your goals to take a stand against bullying.

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