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Dear Noah Michelson,

I’m gay-friendly. Always been. Proud of it.

When I was a little girl, I lived in Orléans, France and our neighbour L was an Army pilot. We – and I mean the people residing in the “Village S … J…”- all knew he was gay. And the good thing was he didn’t actually come out to us. He’s had two boyfriends of whom I was – and still am – quite fond and with whom I enjoyed chatting.

E, the first one, is a nurse. I was really sad when he and L broke up. But whenever I eat some salade verte I think of him because he taught my mum how to make a vinaigrette which I now make myself.

D, the second one, is an optician and the only one who could make me eat vegetables. He and L broke it up after only a few years together. My guess is that one loved the other way much more than what was reciprocated. Things are better this way and L finally found his Mr Right.

So, yes, I’m really open minded when homosexuality is concerned. And I am ashamed to say that, until quite recently, this wasn’t the case with transsexuality.

For a very long time, in my mind, trans people were homosexuals who were ashamed or afraid to be themselves. Something which I thought was insulting homosexuality. I respected trans people but didn’t understand them. “There’s no shame in being gay” I thought, “why can’t they understand it?” I, like a lot of other people, was confusing sexuality with gender.

I became aware of this yesterday when I heard about the story of Arin Andrews and Katie Hill via Neil Gaiman’s and Will Wheaton’s Tumblr articles which directed me to a video published in a HuffPost article.

Arin and Katie are a teenage couple who both felt they did not identify with their biological genders. They met in a support group and fell in love with each other. And we all know what happened next: they transitioned together. I found this to be really cute but didn’t understand why they transitioned in the first place. They were heterosexual weren’t they?

I watched the video. And, after all those years, finally understood it.

Now I laugh at my own ignorance. I laugh because laughing is much better than crying. I learnt a very important lesson thanks to what you said in that video. And I thank you for this.

All the best,

M.