'I Am Loveworthy,' Andy Marra's trans-affirming love story

Andy Marra, a Korean adoptee and author of The Beautiful Daughter: How My Korean Mother Gave Me The Courage to Transition, shares her story about finding love as a transgender woman. Marra is currently the Communications Manager for the Arcus Foundation, and in the past has worked at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and at GLAAD, was the youngest co-leader to direct the New York State Dignity For All Students Coalition, and was the youngest to serve as Board President for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

For a successful woman like Marra, finding initial dates with similarly successful men was not an issue, but they "never led to anything meaningful." After the first few dates, the men appeared afraid of the implications of dating a transgender woman - that their sexuality and masculinity would be compromised as a result.

She describes a time when a man, at the end of a "fun and romantic night of wine, a few rounds of Jenga and good conversation," asked to keep their date private. What developed to become a solid date quickly turned to humiliation and tears behind closed doors as the recurring question returned: "Why wasn't I ever enough?"

Discouraged by "the vicious cycle of guys treating me like their dirty little secret…on repeat," as well as the dire circumstances much of the transgender community lives in, Marra yearned for a man who was "not only attracted to me but was proud to be with me because I was their find of a lifetime." As many young people do these days, Marra turned to online dating, which is how she met Drew, who shared the experience of being a Korean adoptee.

After exchanging messages, Drew asked her to dinner. Marra was hesitant, thinking about past dating experiences, and double checked but took a risk and replied, yes.

Their relationship has only progressed, from spending Valentine's Day together to meeting Drew's parents to living together to supporting Marra while she continued her transition with her gender identity as well as with her hopes for love.

On a weekend spent cleaning our bedroom, I stumbled upon a note Drew had given to me a while back. I put down the cleaning supplies and sat at my desk for a brief walk down memory lane.

Toward the end he wrote, "I will always look upon you and the fact that I am a part of your life with the greatest sense of pride possible."

I smiled as tears fell freely on Drew's note. For him I was never the girl he had to conceal from others. I was instead the person he was proud to call his girlfriend. The love of his life.

Drew has helped me truly accept that I am loveworthy, deserving of being loved for all of who I am. He has shown me that I have been and always will be more than enough for someone.

And I am grateful that someone gets to be him.

To read Andy Marra's full essay, click here.

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GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT people thriving in the South, ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love, including stories of family, stories of faith, stories of sports, and stories of patriotism