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“Trans Love is a Celebration”: Three Trans 4 Trans Couples Share Their Love Stories

by Phoenix Leigh

This is trans love. It is a love that thrives in resistance to a national landscape that can be increasingly harsh to trans people. Here, three T4T (Trans for Trans) couples dive deep into revolutionary love, acceptance, belonging, and what brings them joy. 

Amy & Tristan

Amy Rose Mills (left, she/her) is a luthier, photographer, artist, and collector. 

Tristan (right, she/her) is a professional model from New York City.

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“We met on Instagram,” says Tristan, explaining how she and Amy connected. “I was getting back into guitar and I was also making an effort to be more visible with my queerness. I followed some hashtags related to both topics and Amy popped up in my feed. My first impression of her was that she was a goddess.” For Amy, the feeling was mutual. “She commented on one of my photos and I thought, ‘Ohhh, who is this?!’” she says. “I eventually invited her to a Trans Lady Picnic, which was where we met in-person for the first time.”

“Trans women face an extra level of scrutiny and judgment for displaying any level of sexuality,” explains Amy when asked what she wishes people understood better. “I want people to see trans women feeling sexy and hot and exploring more intense kink the way they’d view a cis woman doing the same, though I know many are slut-shamed for this.” But when it comes to her and Tristan, no explanation is necessary. “There is so much joy!” says Amy of being in a T4T relationship, and the recognition of each other’s experiences that are inherent to it. “Gender-affirming surgery, HRT [hormone replacement therapy], the right clothing, makeup, pronouns, strangers ‘seeing you,’ exploring our bodies, falling in love. We’ve reached deep down inside ourselves and pulled out the most true and real version of ourselves that we possibly could.” 

“Trans love is a celebration. It’s a proclamation of self-acceptance,” agrees Tristan. “It’s a meeting of two people who have had the privilege of inventing themselves. But it’s also so simple, like any love. It’s a home.”

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Anteus & Lila 

Anteus (left, he/him) is a drag performer.

Lila (right, ze/zir/zem) is a nonbinary queer dandy.

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Lila and Anteus first met at a crowded art exhibit, but took things slow. The wait was worth it. “We started dating long distance and we talked over the phone instead of video chatting for the first month, because I was a bit stubborn and self-conscious,” explains Lila. “But his voice was so familiar, and somehow he just really knew and understood me, a self I don’t share with many, and we connected beyond our chemistry. When we met again in person, we knew this was it.” It was three months before they reunited face to face, but, says Anteus, “By month two, I knew I was in love.”

“Being seen by each other, fully, is such a grounding piece of our relationship,” says Anteus of the way in which being trans shapes his and Lila’s connection. “Being absolutely in love with all facets of the other person; being able to flow with each other’s fluidity.” Lila agrees. “It’s freeing to love someone who embodies beauty across the gender spectrum and loves me in any expression. Often people have wanted a particular side of us, and it’s validating to be with someone who sees and wants our entire selves.” When asked if they have words of encouragement to share with future generations of trans kids, the pair knows just what to say. “We’ll keep working to create the world you deserve,” proclaims Lila. “You are loved. Deserving of love. Deserving of being perceived and fully accepted as your most authentic self,” adds Anteus. “You are built exactly right and you have the power and capacity to absolutely thrive, not just survive.”

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Lo & Nak

Lo (left, they/them) is a Black disabled and neurodivergent nonbinary femme. 

Nak (right, they/them) is a mixed-race Korean-American trans-masc nonbinary queer.

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For Nak and Lo, “love at first sight” is more than a cliché. “After one of the first times Lo visited me in the Bronx, I knew I’d fall in love with them and their heart and it was only a matter of time, and that was exciting but scary!” says Nak. Lo agrees. “The morning after our first awkward date, I immediately went to my partner at the time and told them I wanted Nak in my life for a long time,” they explain. “I was called to them in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Love started then.”

“To love a trans person as a trans person is to love myself,” explains Nak. “It is to celebrate all the ways in which expression and authenticity and vulnerability and community can be. We are creating the world we want to see by loving each other so fiercely and unapologetically.”
“Trans love is the care that we have always deserved that has been denied to so many of us,” says Lo. “It is full appreciation for you as a whole. It is a fuck you to mainstream heteronormativity.”

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Photos by Ebru Yildiz

This article originally appeared in BUST’s Fall 2022 print edition. Subscribe today!

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