Monday, February 18, 2013

Transgender Romeo and Juliet

Sabrina Samone, TMP





After reading the story of transgender teen romance of eighteen year old Katie Hill, born Luke a and Arin sixteen year old, born Emerald on the online paper The Trans Daily News, it wasn’t long everywhere I looked there were stories of the happy modern day Romeo and Juliet. Both suffering from the birth defects of gender dysphoria. They had been teased and bullied throughout their childhood. Katie being the son of a Marine Colonel in a small Christian conservative Oklahoma town could bear it now longer and went public in the local papers about being transgender and teen. Her story so touch an anonymous donor so emotionally, they paid for her sex reassignment surgery. Katie had become the first known transgender to graduate high school after sex change. Though it took her father some time to come around she admits things are better and she could not be happier.

Left to right: Emerald Andrews will become Arin Andrews by 16 and Luke Hill before he became Katie. Featured video of the couple can be seen below
  
Arin grew up as Emerald Andrews, a young toddler beauty queen with hopes of her mother to continue in pageants. She also suffered from gender identity disorder and reached the point she could not deny the man she was. Both joined a Tulsa Trans support group and instantly feel in love. Katie said, “All I saw was a handsome guy. We’re perfect for each other because we both had the same troubles growing up. We’re both size five, so we even swap our old clothes we hated. 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.” 
 
Arin, still in high school is undergoing testosterone shots to give him the more masculine physique he had long desired. Even his earliest childhood memories he says, “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. 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 a secret. His mother encouraged him to compete in local pageants but Arin’s secret love was riding motocross bikes with his dad. Though Arin admits it was hard for his family also he now has the support of his mom and dad. Even Arin’s little brother Wesley has even started calling Arin his ‘big brother’ “It makes me so proud,” says Arin.

Though high school started similarly for the two as many transgender teens as Arin says, “It was horrible. I looked like a pretty girl but acted and walked like a boy. Everyone started calling me lesbian. It felt so humiliating. I didn’t feel gay at all. I started having suicidal thoughts and told my parents I felt confused.” Even after Arin’s family began to support him and he began dating Katie rumors around a Christian high school that he was dating a girl, Arin was kicked out of the religious school. He says, “I started another school and things have been better there. But everything changed when I met Katie.”


Both Arin and Katie were bullied growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and they want to help prevent that from happening to others.




Arin goes on to say about Katie, “All her loneliness and confusion over feeling she was the opposite gender all her life sounded exactly like me. It was the moment I first had an explanation for my feelings. I realized I was ‘trans ‘too. I finally had an answer after years of confusion. She was beautiful and looked just like Megan Fox to me. I longed to know who she was and eventually plucked up the courage to do the guy thing and asked for her number. She said yes and we started seeing each other.” The younger couple is now speaking out about their experience to help raise awareness of Tran’s issues. “More needs to be done to let people know about transgender issues,” said Katie. “We both spent years in the wilderness and felt so alone. 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.”



Reading their words as a transgender a decade or two older I can’t help but wonder as we all reach that milestone of self acceptance being transgender are we giving enough back so that teenagers like Katie and Arin didn’t have to feel so alone growing up. We should all be saying to ourselves what each of us as transgender could be doing to make ourselves and our community more visible. Kate and Arin’s story also gives me hope as we’ve all know too well of the young ftm and mtf that are no longer with us do to the bullying and being turned away by family, school and friends. It’s comforting in 2012 we can actually see more progress. A progress that is obvious in young Katie Hill the first to openly graduate a public high school as a post op transgender. Doubt we would have been reading as a happy story like this if it was 2002 or worse 1992 or sooner. Though this is Katie and Arin’s personal story in a way this is all transpeople’s story, a story of our continued struggle as a community. From those that came before us, to those who are full adults and living their lives continuing to educate the world simply by being here working living and being who we are. We can all smile at the thought that this young couple is the future of Tran’s world we all hope to see.

More and more stories of ftm and mtf relationships are being mentioned in the press, though as a diverse community we all aware transgender is not a sexual preference but as I like to say a sexual organ defect. We all choose different ways to love but we all share the one thing that unites us all, being transgender. Let’s us not get complacent in what we can do no matter how small or big to make each life of a transgender a testimony that we are here. Unlike the tragedy of the Shakespeare play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, this Modern day Romeo and Juliet’s acceptance of themselves, their families and the love they have found in each other hopefully will give them strength to continue letting the world know we are here. I was touched to hear their story but more touched knowing that many that came before them in some way has helped make this story one of a happily ever after story that it is.

 
 


ANOTHER UPDATE  WITH NEW VIDEO OF THE INCREDIBLE ROLE MODELS KATE AND ARIN JULY 22, 2013  

Last month Arin finally had his much anticipated top surgery done, started  his T shots and has started major hair growth,  Katie is now in College. The couple remains in love and seems to be going strong.
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