Most of you have probably already learned of Erin's secret.
If not it's best you can learn it from her yourself.
I believe I first met her from her comments at Weerd's and then followed her back to her blog where I learned about her interest in guns, ponies, and RPGs. I've gammed with her, shot with her, and helped her with dev work.
I'll have to join Michael in saying that this secret was "not all that big a secret". Not to me it was. Erin did not change in my eyes. Not when I met her, she played with my dog, not when we shared a hotel room, not when we went shooting.
That in no way diminishes Erin's fear or her challenges. Her fears are legitimate and society does not look kindly on those of us who are different. But we're gunnies. There's also her own struggles with the face that looks back at her in the mirror is not her own.
We're know what it is like for the self righteous to react with fear and horror. The situation is different, but maybe this will bring some measure of perspective.
I remember the strength and bravery Erin took to drive halfway across the country to the Bidet shoot to visit myself, Wenthe, Oddball and others for the first time. And it worked. She took a tremendous leap of faith on our character. I'd like to think that helped, that it helped confirm to Erin that she did have friends she could count on.
Her strength of character did not change. Erin has shown her bravery and her willingness to do whatever it takes to help a friend.
I'll link to some other friends who are more eloquent than I have been tonight.
I'll end with what Jennifer had to say:
You see, I have the advantage of looking like my image of myself. It’s me looking back from the mirror. When you see me, it’s me. Sure, it’s not everything. I’m sure you see the confident woman I am always striving to be. You see the brown eyes, the olive skin, the dark hair. The same olive skin and dark eyes that meant my elementary school best friend wasn’t allowed to come to my house because I was one of ‘those people’ to her mother. Her mother couldn’t see me. You all saw Erin long before you ever saw her face, and Erin is beautiful. I am proud to stand by her side and call her my friend.
When I first started school I was considered a "slow child" and put in the special classes. The school administrators and all the "experts" thought I could not amount to anything. Because I learned differently, because I seemed slow, it was assumed that I could not learn, that putting me in regular classes would be a waste of time. (I should note that I have a Master's Degree in Engineering, graduated with honors, have been published in research journals, have presented at conferences, and so on).
What you see in a person is not who they are. I got to know Erin, became her friend, then saw her face.