Two best friends who met as schoolgirls have revealed how they fell in love after one became a man.
Aaron Capener, 25, first met his now-wife Kayla, 26, at middle school in Kingsport, Tennessee — long before he realized he was a male trapped in a young woman’s body.
The pair tied the knot late last year after Kayla supported Aaron through his turbulent transition process.
“Kayla and I are happily married and all the trials and tribulations I’ve been through to get to this point have been so worth it,” Aaron gushed in an interview with SWNS.
“We had a connection that was instant — but our romantic relationship was a slower progression,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kayla cooed: “Our relationship was built upon our friendship and I believe that’s what makes it so strong.”
Aaron was 14-years-old — and still presenting as female — when he first laid eyes on Kayla in Kingsport, with the pair soon becoming best friends.
The teen quickly realized that he was harboring romantic feelings for Kayla, but didn’t dare articulate them for fear of being outed.
Just months later, Aaron was forced to relocate to Oregon with his family, but he still stayed in touch with his bestie, Snapchatting and speaking on the phone.
Aaron — who was raised in a conservative household and went to church four times a week — slowly grew apart from his family and began to realize he felt different from other teenagers.
“My early years were challenging because I knew from a young age I wasn’t feeling what others my age were feeling,” he explained.
“As I started to mature and go through puberty, it became evident to me something didn’t feel normal and I started doing my own research,” he continued. “Because of my background I never explored my feelings, I was so sheltered from the existence of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Aaron soon came out as a lesbian and faced the family’s disapproval.
“When I came out gay at first, my family were extremely disappointed and they kept making excuses as to why I was saying these things,” he stated. “They made me see the pastor at our church to try and ‘cure’ my feelings, and they then started saying I was simply not praying hard enough.”
At the age of 16, Aaron moved out of home, working at McDonald’s to support himself. He soon realized he was transgender, and began living as a man. All the while, he was still staying in touch with Kayla.
In 2016, Aaron decided to move back to Kingsport, where Kayla was still living.
The pair quickly rekindled their friendship and, after meeting a handful of times, Aaron plucked up the courage to kiss Kayla to see if his romantic desires were reciprocated.
Miraculously, Kayla confessed that she felt the same, and the couple has been at each other’s side ever since.
“Whilst Aaron was away in Oregon, I kept up to date with his transition and what was going on with him all those years,” she told SWNS. “It felt really natural moving from being friends to being in a relationship. Aaron was always the same person no matter what his name or pronouns were, so his transition didn’t affect our relationship in the slightest.”
“We always had a connection that felt deeper than just friends, and although I didn’t understand it when we were younger, it all started to make sense when we were reunited after Aaron’s transition,” she added.
The pair married last year, with some of their middle school friends turning out to help celebrate.
“I’m incredibly blessed to have Kayla as my wife and for her to have loved me no matter what gender I presented as,” Aaron enthused. “Plucking up the courage to kiss her was huge, and when she kissed me back I’d never felt so happy.”
“I’d felt this way since the moment I met her and to have her as my wife now is a dream come true,” he further gushed. “Unconditional means without condition — and her love for me was, and still is, just that.”
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