Small Talk

Two students work through the struggles of being a transgender couple

Emily Alexander, Online Editor

        Senior Ki Nilges and 2019 graduate Amanda Augustine have worked together for nearly three years to push past relationship norms.

        Nilges and Augustine met at a NW photojournalism tryout. After a few awkward conversations and a lot of flirting, they started dating.

        “I tried to do stupid things to impress him,” Augustine said. “I took a piece of grass between my fingers and tried to make a squawk, just to see if he would notice.” 

        The first person Nilges came out as trans to was Augustine in his sophomore year. She instantly supported everything he wanted to do. 

        “She was super supportive of me and everything she said, she’s kept her word on,” Nilges said. “When I started hormones she was like, ‘I’m gonna be there when you do your first shot.’ I don’t think she was actually there, but she was on the phone.” 

        He had brought up the idea a few different times before officially coming out, so nothing was really much of a surprise to Augustine. 

        “I was kind of wary,” Augustine said. “If he was a guy, was there something different about him? Then I kind of got a little bit more rational and educated. Then I was like, obviously, it’s not going to change that much.”

        The main reason the two have remained together so long is the way they can talk to each other — about anything, about everything.

        “What breaks a lot of people apart is a lack of communication,” Nilges said. “That’s why our relationship has lasted so long. We communicate everything.”

        They are also each other’s best friend. If one of them needs something, the other is always supportive.

        “I think it is super important to be friends first,” Nilges said. “You have to have each other’s backs and not let the other emotions get in the way of the romantic emotions.”

        But the big question people feel awkward asking is how their relationship compares to a more traditional one.

        According to Augustine, moving from a relationship with a girl into a romantic relationship with the same person as a guy wasn’t strange. 

        “It was mostly just getting used to saying ‘he,’” she said. “I’d already been calling him Ki, so that wasn’t really a super big deal.”