Photo: Bruce Weber for Barneys
In the Fall of 2012, transgender teens Arin Andrews and Katie Rain Hill made a media splash when the two met in a support group for transgender people and began dating. After their relationship was featured by bTV, their story circulated among outlets such as ABC and Huffington Post before the couple ultimately broke up in January 2014. During their time together, the two had become a viral sensation, amassing millions of views on YouTube, and were even featured in a Bruce Weber-led transgender focused modeling campaign for fashion catalog Barneys (and a short film). Now, each has come forward with their own individual perspectives on transition and their famous relationship.
Their two books —Some Assembly Required: The Not So Secret Life of a Transgender Teen and Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition — both delve more deeply into each teen’s personal stories, their relationship, and their eventual break up. In Some Assembly Required, Arin Andrews recounts what led him to begin transitioning as a high school junior, using a witty tone to share the challenges he faced while living as a girl, the difficulty associated with being kicked out of his private school, the changes he went through upon beginning transition, and the elation and subsequent heartbreak he felt upon meeting, dating, and breaking up with Katie.
Alternately, in Rethinking Normal, Katie Rain Hill gives an honest and introspective look into her oft-difficult and pain filled childhood, writing about her first attempt to take her own life while eight years old and the numerous other attempts that followed. She shares the challenges she faced while unlearning what she had been taught while living as a boy and what it was like entering the dating world for the first time while in a body that accurately reflected her gender. Seeking to transcend physical appearances, Rethinking Normal dares readers to come to grips with society’s concept of normalcy and to reframe it so that it can more effectively embody our true selves.
Tackling bullying, religion, family life, and lack of comfort in one’s own skin, both books seek to examine universal issues through the lens of transgender youth, each delving into the funny, the heartbreaking, and the fascinating.
Published by Simon & Schuster, both books are available nationwide.