Arin Andrews, 16, and Katie Hill, 18, met and fell in love after each discovered they were transgender and had begun the sex swap process
Teenage sweethearts Katie Hill and Arin Andrews look like any other young couple – but both were born the OPPOSITE sex.
The pair spent their childhoods trapped in the “wrong bodies” and battled years of bullying at school.
Arin, 16, was born a girl named Emerald, a talented ballet dancer who was a champion at beauty pageants.
Girlfriend Katie, 18, grew up as a boy called Luke who struggled for 15 years to accept her ‘boy body’.
But the couple, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, met and fell in love after each discovered they were transgender and had begun the sex swap process.
High school graduate Katie has finished a course of female hormones which has helped her to naturally develop breasts without the need for silicone implants.
Arin recalls a similar experience and says he knew he was a boy inside from his first day at school, aged just five.
‘The teachers separated the girls and boys into separate lines for a game,’ he said. ‘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 secret.’
Arin’s mother Denise, 41, encouraged him to compete in local pageant contests and he became an accomplished female ballet and clogging dancer.
But Arin’s secret love was riding motocross bikes with his father Mitch, 42, and doing triathlons and rock-climbing.
‘Mum and dad argued when my motocross clashed with my dance schedule,’ he said. ‘But at age 11, mum gave up. She couldn’t win. But I’ll never hold it against her. She was just proud of her only daughter.’
Mrs Andrews now supports Arin by helping with his testosterone shots and has vowed to help him pay for breast removal surgery if he can raise half of the £3770 ($6,000) costs himself.
For the time being, Arin hides his chest by ‘binding’ – tight strapping around the torso use by transgender females-to-males.
Even Arin’s little brother Wesley, 11, has even started calling Arin his ‘big brother’. ‘It makes me so proud,’ said Arin.
Arin’s determination to live his life as a male comes after years of ‘humiliating’ bullying throughout school.
‘It was horrible,’ said Arin. ‘I looked like a pretty girl but acted and walked like a boy.
‘Everyone started calling me a lesbian. It felt so humiliating. I didn’t feel gay at all.
‘I started having suicidal thoughts and told my parents I felt confused, but I didn’t even know transgender people existed, so it didn’t come up.
‘They said it was OK to be gay, but put me into therapy for my depression and to help with my confusion. My feelings of being a boy sounded so stupid I didn’t even say it in therapy.
‘Then a student at my school, a Christian school, told the teacher’s office about a girl I was dating.
‘They kicked me out because it was a religious school, even though I was a top pupil.
‘I started another school and things have been better there. But everything changed when I met Katie.’
The pair met at a local trans support group after Arin saw Katie’s story in a local newspaper, and they immediately hit it off.
“She was beautiful and looked just like Megan Fox,” said Arin. “I longed to know who she was and eventually plucked up the courage to do the guy’s thing and ask for her number.
“She said yes and we started seeing each other.”
The couple are speaking out to help raise awareness of trans 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.”