To a casual observer, Arin Andrews and Katie Hill may seem just like any other young couple in love.
However, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, couple have something in common - both were born as the opposite gender. They both spent the better part of their childhoods bullied for their interests and sexual preferences.
Arin Andrews was born as Emerald and participated in beauty pageants at a young age. Katie Hill went by Luke for the first 15 years of her life and was the son of a military colonel.
The couple met at a support group from transgender individuals in the area. They were instantly attracted to one another. Interestingly, they both wore the same size clothes, so they could even swap clothing from their former lives that they had hated.
Andrews, who is still in high school, takes testosterone shots to achieve the manly physique that he craves. His mother is willing to front half of the costs of the $6,000 breast removal surgery. In the meantime, Andrews binds his chest, which means that he binds his chest tightly, a common practice for female-to-male transgender individuals who have not had gender reassignment surgery.
Meanwhile, Katie believes that her estrogen levels are naturally high; she was teased in high school for her AA-cup breasts when she still went by Luke. Just four days after her graduation in May, an anonymous donor was so touched by her story that they gifted her $40,000 in order to pay for her gender reassignment surgery.
Both adolescents felt that they had been born into the wrong bodies. Hill says that she always wanted to play with dolls, and Andrews supplemented her pageant activities and ballet lessons with motocross bikes, rock climbing, and triathlons.
Hill suffered from depression, and her parents sent her to 15 different therapists to help. She finally discovered the root of her depression after discovering the definition of 'transgender' on the Internet.
Andrews also had severe depression as a result of his gender identity, for which his parents sent him to therapy. As a child, he did not even know what transgender meant. His sexuality eventually meant that Andrews was expelled from his religious high school, due to a relationship that he had with a girl.
Andrews learned what transgender meant when he read about Hill's story in a local newspaper.
Both Andrews' and Hill's families are rather supportive of their struggles. Even still, they say, "Our parents didn't know how to help because none of us knew being trans was possible. Nobody should have to go through what we did."