Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When love is love, no matter who you are...

This is Arin Andrews and Katie Hill from Oklahoma. He's 17 years old, she's 19. One excelled at ballet and competed in beauty contests, while the other was the son of a Marine Colonel.

They look like your average couple, don't they? What's so amazing is that two years ago, Arin was a girl named Emerald, and Katie was a boy named Luke. The couple met through a support group for transgendered teens in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while both were completing their transitions.

Both struggled with their gender identities while growing up. "The teachers separated the girls and boys into separate lines for a game...I didn't understand why they asked me to stand with the girls," Arin told the Daily Mail. "Girly things didn't interest me, but I was worried what people would think if I said I wanted to be a boy, so I kept it secret." Meanwhile, Katie confided that, "Even from age three, I knew deep down I wanted to be a girl. All I wanted was to play with dolls. I hated my boy body and never felt right in it."

"Being transgender myself, I understand Arin better than anybody else — how good he feels and how complete he feels," Katie told The Sun. She also quipped to the Daily Mail, "We're both size five, so we even swap our old clothes our [mothers] bought us but we hated."

It's wonderful that now that the two have successfully completed their transitions, they can resume their lives with each other in bodies they feel more comfortable in. Arin said, "Now when I’m out in a public pool or lifting weights, no one raises an eyebrow. They just think I’m a guy...I can wear a tank top, which I couldn’t before, and I can go swimming shirtless. I can just be a regular guy. And I’m so lucky to have my family and Katie to rely on."

And Katie added, "We look so convincing as a boy and a girl, nobody even notices now. We secretly feel so good about it because it's the way we've always wanted to be seen."

HuffPost Gay Voices editor Noah Michelson, when discussing this story on their site noted, "It brings to light the idea that sexuality and gender are not the same thing. So both of these individuals are heterosexual...They're not gay just because they're transgender, and that's something that blows people's minds still."

When people love each other, it shouldn't matter who they are. The most important thing is that they're happy with each other, and happy together. Stories like this are like wonderful fortifications against the ignorance and hatred that still exists in our world. Wishing Arin and Katie every happiness always...

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