Love is Love: Transgender couple shatter social barriers
"We're just like everyone else. We love the same. We work the same. We pay the same taxes. We go to the doctors, just like you. Some of us are doctors, believe it or not."
A transgender woman from Mililani is on a mission to shatter social barriers Hawaii's transsexual community face.
And she's starting off with shining a spotlight on her love life.
Kaleimomi Timoteo and her boyfriend Andrew aren't what some would call a traditional couple. Both are transgender. Timoteo was born male but identifies as female. Her partner was born female but is recognized as male.
"People like stare sometimes because I think they're trying to assess the situation. What I do think is ignorance or maybe they're not used to seeing," Timoteo said.
As if challenges out in public weren't enough- another obstacle is that their relationship is long distance. Andrew Brosseau lives in Chicago. He's a veteran and now studying to get into law school.
"I was just drawn to the fact that he was so selfless and enjoyed helping others," Timoteo said.
Timoteo was born and raised on O'ahu and is open to eventually moving to the Windy City.
"Being with someone who wants to see me succeed and do well in life and is really rooting for me...she's been a blessing in my life, all that she's done for me and continues to do for me," said Brosseau.
Both say part of their attraction to the other stems from similar struggles each endured as children with their gender.
"I remember praying at night that I would wake up a girl. When I looked in the mirror I didn't see who I was. I didn't understand it," Timoteo explained.
As a teenage boy, depression took over Timoteo's life, at times, contemplating suicide.
That all changed after meeting a cousin who identified as transsexual. It was the missing puzzle piece that changed Timoteo's life forever. Her family supported her transition journey 100 percent.
"I wasn't going to be the football player that I was supposed to be. Unfortunately I ended up being like the cheerleader," Timoteo said.
These days Timoteo uses social media as a platform to bring awareness to the transgender community. Some of that awareness comes in the form of humor. But at the end of the day, her goal is to advocate for acceptance.
"We're just like everyone else. We love the same. We work the same. We pay the same taxes. We go to the doctors, just like you. Some of us are doctors, believe it or not," Timoteo explained.
As for the man of her dreams both have aspirations to become biological parents, opting to hold off on gender reassignment surgery until then. Brosseau says he's on board to carry their child.
"Love has no gender. Love has no color. Love has no age. It's the same thing with aloha. It's free. It doesn't cost you anything. It doesn't hurt anyone, if anything it can heal," Timoteo said.