1926. Copenhagen-based married couple Einar and Gerda Wegener, who are madly in love, have so far tried unsuccessfully to have a child. They both work as artists, and while Einar has a modicum of critical success for his landscapes, Gerda has not had much critical success with her portraits. An innocent enough request by Gerda to her husband leads to Einar exploring his feminine side. While Gerda sees that exploration all in fun, it becomes more for Einar, who, hearkening back to a time long ago in his past, ultimately allows himself truly to believe that he is a woman, "Lili", born into a male body. He wants to experience all that being Lili is, including sexually, and not as Einar pretending to be a woman. The emotions that Gerda develops when she learns what Einar is truly going through spurs some creative energy in her art, which was not present before. Wanting some medical diagnosis for what she is feeling, Lili is told again and again that she is crazy, most physicians who want to institutionalize her on the spot, until she meets Dr. Kurt Warnekros, who believes he can perform two risky gender reassignment surgeries for her fully to become Lili. As such, Lili dreams of getting remarried and having a child in that post-surgery life. Both Lili and Gerda have to decide how long Gerda will go along with Lili for this ride, especially as they both know that the end, if it happens, is that Gerda will lose her husband forever, Lili who states it meaning all of Einar including his art.