Family Navigates Unchartered World of Gender Transition

After struggling with gender identity issues her whole life, Chloe Prince -- formerly Ted Prince -- returned from gender reassignment surgery in Thailand in May 2008. She underwent 13 hours of surgery, and three major procedures, to become a new woman.

"There was no hint of the man behind the woman, it was just the girl," Chloe said, looking at herself in the mirror for the first time. "It was magic. It was magic."

But it was far from magical for Rene, Chloe's wife, to see her husband -- now as a woman -- for the first time.

"I met her at the airport when she came back from the operation, and I was just scared I wasn't going to recognize her face," Rene told ABC News.

Watch the full story on "Primetime: Family Secrets," TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET

Chloe's transition was rooted in a lifetime of gender confusion. As a boy and into adulthood, Ted secretly dressed in girls' clothes and wondered what it felt like to be a woman. But in 2003, a shocking diagnosis of Klinefelter's syndrome, a condition that occurs in men who have an extra X chromosome, allowed Ted to express his inner female.

But with Chloe's transformation, the northern Ohio couple, who had been together for nearly eight years, entered a gray area -- forced to redefine the dynamics of their relationship and Chloe's new place in the family.

"Am I my dad's son still or am I his daughter? Am I her wife, am I her spouse, am I her husband?" Chloe asked.

If they are no longer husband and wife, what are they? Before Chloe's surgery, Rene threatened to leave, but said she stayed for the sake of their two sons, Logan, 7, and Barry, 6. She wanted to keep their family intact. But maintaining life as it was before had been difficult for both Rene and Chloe.

Chloe said she still sees Rene through Ted's eyes, and is still very attracted to her.

"So she's three feet away from me in bed, and I want to go over there, you know, and hug her, I want to kiss her, you know, and I can smell her. It's torturous," Chloe said. "And when the lights are off, I can still hear Ted's voice and I can -- even smell is still the same."

Click Here to see photos of Chloe's transformation.

End of Intimacy for Husband and Wife?

But Rene is no longer comfortable being intimate with Chloe.

"I warned him. That's it, you know. I can't, can't do that. And I think that he thought that I was gonna change, that it was gonna change. Somehow I would still feel like having sex. And I don't," Rene told ABC News' Juju Chang.

Chloe and Rene still hug and kiss on the lips, but the physical affection ends there. They both say they miss the physical closeness they once shared.

"I miss being able to go out on a date with my husband and sit next to him and hug him and kiss him in public. I don't feel comfortable doing that," Rene said.

It's not only their lack of intimacy that causes tension in their relationship. With two women in the house, there is confusion and sometimes resentment over who plays what role within the family.

Chloe feels she is still expected to mow the lawn and do all the heavy lifting around the house -- tasks once done by Ted. And even though she does the rough-housing and "daddy-like" activities with her sons, Chloe considers herself another mother to her boys -- not their father.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A home damaged by a landslide Friday, April 18, 2014 in Jackson, Wyo. is shown in this aerial image provided by Tributary Environmental.
Tributary Environmental/AP Photo
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine