I accidentally told Courtnei Lee she was my type, and she didn’t make it weird.

I didn’t mean it in a validating way, or as a way of hitting on her – I just meant it in a supportive, “hey, you’re pretty and it’s wildly unfair” kind of way. And she just rolled with it, laughing as I stuttered in embarrassment.

In my article, I describe Courtnei as decisive. And this is true! But she’s also just… real.

I have the honor of interviewing and working with many amazing people, but there are some I immediately connect with. Courtnei is one of those people. Her forthcoming nature, her openness, her determination, her quest to do good and bring good to the world – it’s all so damn admirable, and my own values align with hers.

We have different experiences; there are no comparisons between us. But we bond over rainbow-washing and joke about how common it seems to hear someone in the LGBTQ+ community say “thank god I’m not straight!” (Me.) The conversation is natural and comfortable and fun. It feels like I’m chatting with a friend, having an intellectual conversation with someone I’ve known for years, not minutes.

As you’ll read, I went over by 20 minutes because I didn’t want the conversation to end. And here’s where I’ll admit that I hope it never does. I learned so much from Courtnei through her experience, not through my questions, and I will never take those minutes for granted (especially the 20 I stole).

But more importantly, I’ve met someone who laughs when I accidentally hit on them and thanks me for taking the time to talk to them and tell their story. Maybe it’s the polite Canadian in her, but she truly is my favorite spirit to capture, frame, put up on QUILL with no intentions of taking it down: ego-less and gracious. Real and raw. Human.

I hope you enjoy reading this article, and I encourage you to go into it with an open mind and open heart. You may not understand, but as Courtnei said: it’s not her or any trans person’s responsibility to teach you what you don’t know. It’s beyond rewarding when you find the answers yourself and join the conversation with facts, I promise.

Dig around and learn on your own. Expand your knowledge, solo. The trans – and entire LGBTQ+ – community will be grateful.


tess aurore from quill in her letter to the editor

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