Family Navigates Unchartered World of Gender Transition

"She had a girl inside her ... so she went on a surgery to get it out," son said

ByABC News
July 20, 2009, 9:39 PM

July 21, 2009 -- 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.

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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.