It seems transgender teenage couple Arin Andrews and Katie Hill could be any couple in swimming trunks frolicking during the summer heat, except what makes their love unique is the fact that Arin Andrews used to be a she and Katie Hill used to be a he before receiving full gender reassignment operations.
According to Katie, she was finally able to make the full switch over thanks to an anonymous donation to the tune of $35 000 after her story appeared in the local paper. Whilst Arin, who is still at school was able to undergo an operation to remove both of his breasts allowing him to fully show off his new male physique.
Tells Arin: ‘Now I can wear a tank top, which I couldn’t before, I can go swimming shirtless, I can walk outside, I can just be a regular guy now.
‘I hated my breasts, I always felt like they didn’t belong – now I can finally be comfortable in my own body.’
‘Now when I’m out in a public pool, or lifting weights, no-one raises an eyebrow, they just think I’m a guy – just a skinny dude in the gym trying to build some muscle.”
‘My family have really surprised me with how supportive they have been throughout the surgery. I’m so lucky to have them and Katie to rely on.’
According to the couple, they first met nearly two years ago at a support group for transgender teenagers and bonded through shared experiences.
Tells Katie: ‘To me, Arin’s just my Arin, he’s always looked manly to me. But now he’s had the surgery he’s much more confident and comfortable with himself.’
With both teens’ physical appearance matching their gender, both are excited to be able to go swimming, boating and sunbathe like other couples.
Reflects Katie: ‘Being transgender myself, I understand Arin probably better than anybody else, how good he feels and how complete he feels.’
In the future, Arin might consider having genital surgery, but acknowledges this too can be complicated, and for now he’s delighted with his new body.
Both the couple’s families are supportive of their relationship and say the way the way the teenagers have supported each other has helped in their transition.
Tells Arin’s mum Denise Andrews: ‘Seeing Katie go through her surgery was helpful to Arin.
‘It was being around it and seeing her getting to transform. And being a couple at the time was I think just the cherry on the cake.
‘Every transgender person would love to have the transformation physically because it just completes them as a person.’
The last two years have been very difficult for the teenagers.
Katie was bullied at school, and Arin had to change to a different high school when he revealed he was transgender, and has lost friends in the process.
‘I lost one of my best friends through the transition,’ said Arin. ‘We used to go on vacations together and were like sisters.
‘But I got the chance to open her eyes and show her I’m still a good person. I’m still the person I was, I just look different.
‘She was gone for a while but then she came back.
‘It taught me that the people who really love you need some time, but they’ll always come back around.’
After he began dressing as a boy, Arin also lost a new male friend who learned about his past as a girl.
‘He said: ”I pictured you as a girl, and I can’t do it anymore,”’ said Arin, adding: ‘You can’t just force people to be your friends.’
Katie goes on to tell about the difficulties of assimilation at her new university in Oklahoma where she has struggled to make new friends because of prejudices against transgender people in the traditional Southern state.
‘I had quite a lot of friends in college that were really close to me and then all of a sudden they just stopped talking to me.
‘I think what happened is they found out I was trans through a story or word of mouth and they decided that was too much for them.’
The last two years have also gone on to be difficult for the teenager’s families after having to come to terms with losing their son and daughter, and also some of their own friends.
Reflects Arin’s mum Denise: ‘There are still a group of people we don’t interact with any more. I know that they questioned me as a parent, they’re not comfortable with it.’
‘A lot of people worry about losing the gender of their child. But as you look through albums and realise your babies are growing up, we also watched them grow up and turn into somebody different.
‘Whether they stay the same gender or not, they become independent.’
Now their outward transformation is complete, the teenagers hope people will accept them as their new genders, and their difficulties will become a thing of the past.
Reflects Arin: “I’ve learned what really matters when it comes to being transgender is who I feel I am on the inside and not necessarily how I look like on the outside…”
via the UK’s dailymail