A transgender woman who was rejected by her Facebook love interest as a man says they are now a couple and in love following her transition.
Erin Anderson, 22, knew she was born in the wrong body from the age of three, when she would put on her mum’s makeup and draw herself as a girl.
She was still living as a man called Aaron when she first approached 28-year-old Jared Norris on social media, believing he was “cute”.
At the time, Jared kindly rejected her.
But two years later, after Erin had “come out as trans and a woman”, he liked one of her pictures on Instagram and they began dating .
Today, they are a couple – with Jared saying he loves the fact that his “beautiful” Marilyn Monroe-lookalike girlfriend is “willing to be herself”.
Erin, who has undergone two years of hormone replacement therapy and breast augmentation, is now hoping for gender reassignment surgery.
She and Jared went public with their relationship within the first couple of months. But since then, they say they have received hateful messages and even death threats online.
Erin, from Owensboro in Kentucky, US, recalled: “While still living a boy, I messaged Jared on Facebook saying, ‘hey, what’s up’.
“I knew of him and added him on Facebook because he was cute.
“But he was having no part of it and didn’t seem interested at all, so I decided not to try anymore with him.
“It was two years later when he liked one of my pictures on Instagram, by that time I had come out as trans and a woman.
“I decided I was going to be upfront, so I sent him a message with my number and within five minutes, I got a message from him and we started talking.
“The next day was my birthday, I hung out with him and a week later we were dating officially on Facebook and have been together ever since.
She added: “Prior to dating Jared, I had been seeing people but nothing serious came about because they were afraid to tell their family or friends.
“They would tell me they really liked me but couldn’t risk their family knowing I was trans and that was what hurt the most.
“But Jared didn’t fear that, he told his family that I was trans and everything, he doesn’t care what other people think.
“We talk about our love story and us getting together often actually, I admitted that two years prior I wanted him and now I finally have him, which we laugh a lot about.”
The couple defend their relationship, now two years strong.
They say that ‘love is love’ and they have chosen to ignore the haters.
Jared, a computer science student, said: “It wasn’t really well known that I was dating a trans woman at first, but when everyone found out, it was a big shocker.
“I received a lot of death threats online with one guy saying ‘I will beat you up f*** ’ which kind of sucked and was depressing.
“It’s always the same rigmarole things like, ‘I hate you’ , ‘you’re disgusting’, ‘you’re dating a dude’ and other comments.
“After getting all these death threats we talked about it and decided to ignore everybody, whether they are sending love or hate.
“Thankfully I had some messages encouraging us and telling us to ignore the haters, it reminds us that people like that are not worth our time.”
As a toddler, Erin would put on her mother’s make-up, wear her gran’s heels and wrap T-shirts around her head to emulate long hair.
At school, she says she was bullied by the boys, who found her overly effeminate, and ostracised by the females for not being a girl.
Erin, a graphics design student, said: “At three years old I was an artistic child, I would always draw myself as a girl all the time.
“Then I would wear my grandma’s high heels, put mom’s makeup on and more, all of these are things a little boy wouldn’t do.
“I was bullied by both the boys and girls, the guys would ask why I would act like a girl and make fun of me, making me feel less than what I was.
“Then the girls would see me as a boy and not want to hang out with me.”
She added that she tried to suppress her feelings until the age of 18, when she started questioning her gender. But even then, she doubted whether she could be the woman she always knew she was.
She said: “By then, I was not happy in my born gender as a boy anymore, but I was dumbfounded about how to change.
“I had no knowledge on the subject or where to begin.
“I thought I was too old to start transitioning until my friend reminded me that life is too short and that I couldn’t keep living my life so unhappy.”
After undergoing hormone replacement therapy for seven months, Erin noticed that Jared had like an Instagram image of hers.
She took the bold decision to approach him again.
This time, the couple went on a date, with Jared quickly falling for Erin.
They then decided to announce their relationship on Facebook.
Jared said: “I hung out with her a lot and really enjoyed it, we had a lot of things in common even after talking for just a couple of days.
“I was thinking, I could fall in love with this person, at first I didn’t know where it was going to go, but one day while lying in bed with her watching TV I told her how I felt.
“I was like, ‘I love you and think we could make this work easily’ and despite all the haters I wanted to go public and proudly show everyone we are dating.”
Erin, who is happy being “passable” as a transgender woman, still hopes to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the future.
But her partner says he already thinks she looks beautiful and will “love her exactly the same”, regardless of the surgery.
“She wants to look more feminine, but to me she already looks beautiful,” Jared said.
“I understand it’s not about me but at present we couldn’t afford surgery for her to become fully female.
“I will still love her exactly the same, she is still the same person regardless, I think she looks feminine enough, but understand gender dysphoria is a big thing.”
He added: “I love the fact that she is willing to be herself even with the ramifications of that. I’m glad she can put herself out there.”