Best Friends Become a Couple After One Transitions to Male

Two best friends who first knew each other as schoolgirls have married after one transitioned to male.

Aaron and Kayla Capener, who live in Tennessee, became best pals at 14, long before Aaron knew he was transgender.

He moved thousands of miles away but they kept in touch, and when they were reunited six years later, they fell in love and got married in 2021.

Aaron and Kayla Capener
Aaron (right) and Kayla Capener were best friends who first knew each other as schoolgirls. They have since married after Aaron transitioned to a male. Aaron Capener/Zenger

Aaron, now 25, credits Kayla, now 26, with supporting him during tough periods, and she now even helps administer his testosterone supplements.

They said their years of friendship as kids is the foundation for their happy marriage.

Media company owner Aaron said: "Me and Kayla are happily married and all the trials and tribulations I've been through to get to this point have been so worth it.

"We had a connection that was instant - but our romantic relationship was a slower progression."

Kayla, who jointly owns the media business, said: "Our relationship was built upon our friendship and I believe that's what makes it so strong."

Aaron and Kayla met at school when he briefly moved to Kingsport, Tennessee, for six months at 14, when they were both in eighth grade and presented as girls.

Aaron Capener
Aaron Capener made Photoshop images showing himself as a teenage girl pre-transition and as a man. Aaron Capener/Zenger

They became best friends before Aaron had to move back to Oregon to live with his family.

They stayed in contact over the years despite the 2,200-mile distance, Snapchatting and speaking on the phone.

They also saw each other every two years when he returned to see his grandma.

Aaron was raised in a conservative household and, after realizing he was gay at 14, slowly grew apart from his family, he said.

He says they attended church four times a week, and his family's faith meant they disapproved of same-sex relationships.

Aaron said: "My early years were challenging because I knew from a young age I wasn't feeling what others my age were feeling.

"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.

"Because of my background I never explored my feelings - I was so sheltered from the existence of the LGBTQ+ community.

"When I came out gay at first, my family was extremely disappointed and they kept making excuses as to why I was saying these things.

"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."

Aaron began to feel more and more uncomfortable living at home, and at 16, he got a job at McDonald's which enabled him to save up enough money to move out.

Aaron and Kayla Capener
Aaron and Kayla Capener married in 2021. Aaron Capener/Zenger

He then transitioned to male and started presenting as a man.

Three years later, at 20, he left Oregon and moved back to Kingsport, Tennessee.

He got in touch with Kayla, who was still living in the same place, and they instantly rekindled their friendship.

But, as they spent more time together, it became clear to Aaron that there was a romantic connection between the two of them that he'd felt since they first met.

After meeting a handful of times, Aaron plucked up the courage to kiss Kayla to see if his feelings were reciprocated.

Thankfully, she felt the same, and the couple has been at each other's side ever since.

Kayla said: "Whilst Aaron was away in Oregon, I kept up to date with his transition and what was going on with him all those years.

"When I finally did see him again, he gave me the biggest embrace and we both cried.

"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.

Aaron added: "I'm incredibly blessed to have Kayla as my wife and for her to have loved me no matter what gender I presented as.

"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.

"Unconditional means without condition - and her love for me was, and still is, just that."

The couple finally got hitched in 2021 and some of their friends from school came to show their support for their marriage.

Aaron has been documenting his journey on social media and is speaking out now to help others.

Along with running his platforms, Aaron also uses his media business to work with other LGBTQ organizations and helps them with their online presence.

Aaron said: "My goal is to help educate my following so they're open-hearted when meeting other transgender people.

"I want them to be able to express love instead of reacting to their lack of understanding."

"If people understand what it means to be trans they'll naturally be more accepting, and that's what drives me to do what I do.

"I just want to keep spreading my message and offering support to the trans community in any way I can."

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.