Relations and shut associates shared their recollections of Dylan Simmons ’17 M.S. ’17 as they mourn his dying. His passing has left an influence on a number of communities with which he recognized, together with disabled, queer and Asian communities.
Dylan handed away in a campus residence on Jan. 20. He was in his third yr at Stanford Legislation College (SLS) and was set to graduate within the spring.
Household and formative years
Dylan was adopted by his dad and mom in Shanghai, China and was raised in Dallas, Texas. From a younger age, his dad and mom, who have been each legal professionals, instilled inside him a love for touring and Patsy Cline, in response to his mom, Deborah Simmons.
Deborah described Dylan as inquisitive, brave, loyal and strong-willed. One notorious tantrum in 1996 about whether or not 10 crimson M&Ms may very well be eaten earlier than dinner lives on in his household’s historical past lore, in response to Deborah.
However maybe most significantly, Dylan was sincerely dedicated to the thought of equity.
“He felt just like the therapy of marginalized teams, whatever the political penalties, merely was not honest,” his mom stated.
When Dylan was 12, he misplaced his father attributable to problems from Sort 1 diabetes. His father had an unwavering dedication to social justice points, in response to Deborah — a dedication that Dylan carried with himself as nicely.
Deborah stated that her son confirmed her it’s okay to be totally different. He didn’t need to begin an argument over it, however he was unafraid of disagreeing with somebody and saying that he noticed issues in a different way — one thing that was more durable to do in components of Texas, Deborah stated, the place there was lots of conformity.
At Stanford, Dylan double majored in sociology and feminist, gender and sexuality research. He additionally earned a grasp’s diploma in neighborhood well being and prevention in 2017. Throughout these years, he developed a robust curiosity in his Chinese language roots and studied Mandarin, in response to his mom.
In his third yr as an undergraduate, Dylan served as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Ng, then referred to as Humanities Home, alongside his buddy Truman Chen ’17 J.D. ’24. He served as an RA once more the next yr within the worldwide themed cooperative home Hammarskjöld. Years later, Dylan helped Chen with the legislation college utility course of and inspired him to place extra of himself into the appliance, in response to Chen.
“Throughout that course of, he appeared to recollect all the pieces in my life I informed him about 5 years in the past, and I discovered it exceptional that he cared to recollect all these particulars,” Chen wrote.
It was additionally throughout school that Dylan started to query his gender id assigned at beginning. At 20 years previous, he transitioned to Dylan Alexander. In line with his mom, he made the choice to not change his authorized title as a result of he nonetheless needed to exert possession over that interval of his life.
After graduating from Stanford in 2017, Dylan headed to China for a yr to show English at Shenyang College. Shortly after coming again to the U.S., he determined to return to Stanford to attend legislation college.
Time at Stanford Legislation College
Matthew Dimon J.D. ’22 met Dylan at SLS’s Admitted College students Weekend, and later grew to become his roommate in legislation college. In line with Dimon, Dylan represented all the perfect components of Stanford: enthusiastic, quick-witted, good.
“It was that second that I made a decision to come back to Stanford — it was already my best choice for legislation college, however Dylan cinched it for me,” Dimon wrote.
Throughout his time at SLS, Dylan took Professor Rabia Belt’s course on incapacity legislation and later labored as a instructing assistant for the category. Dylan and Belt would cheer collectively when shy college students spoke up in school, and he would ship her articles on incapacity that she would incorporate into the course, in response to Belt.
Professor Erik Jensen, who taught Dylan in his international poverty and legislation class two years in the past, wrote that Dylan had extraordinary virtues, describing him as vigorous, inventive and optimistic.
Throughout the pandemic, Dylan lived at residence along with his mom in Texas for 18 months. They frolicked cooking collectively and taking walks — time that Deborah is now extremely grateful for, she stated. Dylan and his mom hoped to journey to northern Europe after he took the bar examination. He additionally hoped to journey to Asia earlier than beginning work at Latham and Watkins’s Washington D.C. workplace within the fall, in response to his mom.
Advocacy and activism
Dylan spent a lot of his time at SLS on advocacy efforts for marginalized teams, particularly disabled and queer communities. Final yr, he co-led the Incapacity and Psychological Well being Community at Stanford (DAMNS) alongside associates Leah Kennedy J.D. ’22 and Sam Becker J.D. ’22, and labored with legislation college directors to enhance accessibility. Due to the pandemic, the three have been bodily separated for a lot of their friendship, however they might keep after conferences on Zoom and bond over shared pursuits like cats and Steven Universe, in response to Kennedy.
Kennedy stated that Dylan opened up the incapacity house for her, serving to her to navigate lodging and to really feel comfy in her pores and skin as somebody proudly owning that id.
Becker echoed this sentiment: “Dylan gravitated in the direction of welcoming into neighborhood as a substitute of gatekeeping, regardless that he had extra proper to than anybody.”
Dylan additionally labored as a Group Developer on the Queer Useful resource Middle on campus and lit the room up with pleasure, in response to Co-Group Developer Adi Mukund M.D. ’22 Ph.D. ’22.
“Anytime he agreed with one thing or it caught his consideration, he would say ‘Yo!’ and launch into essentially the most enthusiastic tirade you’ve ever seen,” Mukund stated. “Rapidly you’d must dampen the quantity in your pc speaker as a result of he would get so glad about it.”
Dylan additionally promoted fairness in his place as a Range Co-Chair on the Stanford Legislation Assessment (SLR). Dylan considerably improved outreach throughout recruitment, in response to present SLR President Daniel Khalessi ’13 J.D. ’22. He additionally led the Assessment’s efforts to be extra focused in its outreach to affinity teams and advocated for higher lodging for college students with disabilities within the journal, in response to SLR Range Co-Chair Jasmine Robinson J.D. ’22.
He additionally beforehand served because the President of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislation Pupil Affiliation (APILSA) and the Vice President of Range and Inclusion on the Stanford Legislation Affiliation.
Communities mourn his passing
As somebody belonging to a number of marginalized identities, Dylan’s passing has been felt throughout a number of communities on campus. On Jan. 28, the APILSA held a Lunar New 12 months dinner, throughout which they took time to recollect Dylan. Stanford OutLaw, the legislation college’s LGBTQ+ pupil affiliation, additionally held a picnic in remembrance on Jan. 30, which had practically 40 neighborhood members in attendance.
The transgender neighborhood was closely impacted by Dylan’s passing. His passing is the second dying of a transgender Stanford graduate pupil inside a yr. Mukund was associates with each Dylan and Rose Wong M.D. ’23, who died final yr.
“On final yr’s Trans Day of Remembrance, we thought of Rose,” Mukund stated. “This yr, we’ll take into consideration Rose and Dylan. If the trans neighborhood may hand around in a method that didn’t contain the dying of one in all us, that may be actually swell.”
Dylan’s passing has reminded Dimon of how essential it’s to care for his psychological well being.
“As his shut buddy and roommate, I believe I noticed a facet of Dylan that wasn’t obvious to many. I noticed how a lot his duties weighed on his thoughts,” Dimon wrote. “His passing has made me re-evaluate the issues that I worth, in addition to the character of feat extra usually.”
In a thanks card that Dylan despatched to household and associates again residence a number of weeks in the past, he wrote a quote that held significance to him.
“An important factor about you isn’t the belongings you obtain; it’s the individual you develop into.”
Help is accessible for college students by means of Stanford’s Counseling and Psychological Providers (CAPS) 24/7 at (650) 723-3785. The Graduate Life Workplace (GLO) is accessible 24/7 through the Stanford operator at (650) 723-7288, pager 25085 and through workplace hours at (650) 736-7078. The Bridge Peer Counseling Middle affords counseling by educated college students 24/7 at (650) 723-3392. The College Workers Assist Middle, situated in Kingscote Gardens, affords confidential assist for Stanford college and employees.
The Stanford Legislation College has created an internet house for individuals to share their remembrances of Dylan Simmons.
This text has been up to date to take away Dylan Simmons’s lifeless title. The Each day regrets this error.