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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
Photo of Trans teen couple takes Internet by storm
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Photo of Trans teen couple takes Internet by storm

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

At first, second, or even third glance, Arin Andrews and Katie Hill look like any young couple posing in their swimwear in a picture that has been circulating online.

However, just two years ago he was a girl called Emerald, and she was a boy called Luke.

Arin, 17, and Katie, 19, have both undergone surgery to change their gender.

Just over a year ago Katie, a university student, had gender reassignment surgery and last month Arin, who is still at school, had his breasts removed.

'I hated my breasts, I always felt like they didn't belong,' he said. 'Now I finally feel comfortable in my own body.'

'Now when I'm out in a public pool or lifting weights, no one raises an eyebrow,' he continued. '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.'

The couple met nearly two years ago at a support group for Transgender teenagers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They bonded through their shared experiences.

'To me, Arin's just my Arin,' said Katie. 'He's always looked manly to me. But now he's had the surgery he's much more confident and comfortable with himself.'

'Being Transgender myself, I understand Arin better than anybody else - how good he feels and how complete he feels.'

Both their families are supportive of their relationship and say the way the teenagers have supported each other has helped in their transition. But they have not been so lucky with their peers. Katie was bullied and Arin had to change schools when he revealed he was Transgender. 'I lost one of my best friends through the transition,' he said.

Katie started college last autumn but has struggled to make new friends. 'I had a lot of friends in college that were really close to me. Then, all of a sudden, they just stopped talking to me,' she said. 'I think they found out I was Trans through gossip and decided it was too much for them.'

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