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July 20, -- In the year , two women living together as a couple may not be typical, but it is not unheard of. Both lifelong residents of northern Ohio, Chloe and Rene Prince met in March as neighbors and fell in love. Within three months they were married.
They are now raising two young boys, Logan, 7, and Barry, 6. Their story is similar to that of most couples struggling to balance work, finances and raising young children. But Chloe and Rene live with a secret that has affected their relationship, their families, their friends and even their children: Chloe was born a man. But with the family I had, even at 4 years old, I was already very aware of society, of what was expected of a boy and what is expected of a girl. For Ted, it was about more than clothing. He also struggled with gender confusion , which affects an estimated 1 million to 3 million people across the United States.
Unbeknownst to his family, Ted continued to secretly dress in female clothing throughout his youth, even going as far as opening a P. In his twenties, his confusion began to affect his personal life. Citing that she needed to "be with a real man," his girlfriend of several years decided to leave the relationship. Desperate to get his life back on track, several months later, Ted started dating and eventually proposed to Rene, a neighbor that he said he had admired for years. Though things moved fast, neither questioned the instant connection.
I said, 'I need to have a conversation with you. Normally I'm a happy-go-lucky type person, so she knew it was serious. Everything in here is mine,'" he said. Ted explained that cross-dressing was something he didn't want to continue, but he knew there was something more to it than the allure of female clothing. After confiding in her, Ted told Rene he had seen a counselor, and she thought it was something she could accept from the man she loved. I didn't think too much of it, really," she told ABC News. Ted and Rene got married at a private wedding ceremony in the Poconos.
Within months, Rene was pregnant with their first son, Logan, and that was when things first started to unravel. For reasons unknown to Rene, Ted became distant and started to pay more attention to projects around the house than to his pregnant wife. At a time when many couples feel renewed intimacy, Ted had a very different emotion: jealousy. By the summer of , life had settled into a reliable rhythm for Ted and Rene.
Ted's stash of women's clothing in closets and hidden boxes had grown, but not ificantly. Although still confused, Ted was able to occupy idle hands with work and the birth of a second son, Barry. Everything's changing. One day, while out on a motorcycle ride, Ted was stung several times by a bee. He was severely allergic to bee stings, so Rene rushed him to the hospital. A blood test at the hospital led to an endocrinologist and a diagnosis that Chloe said explained why she had felt so different her whole life.
Never heard of [it]. Klinefelter's syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities in humans. One of the main side effects of Klinefelter's syndrome is a much lower level of testosterone than the average male. The news of his medical condition was a moment of clarity for Ted, who for so long had struggled with gender identity issues. Chloe says the doctors told them that the severity of the sting had essentially reset Ted's endocrine system, according to Chloe. Gradually, his body started to change. Initially, Rene thought Ted was gaining weight, but they knew something else was going on when he started developing breasts.
I could see that the fat density in my face and my body, the softness of my skin, my muscular features were all changing at that point," Chloe said. With an actual medical diagnosis to help explain why he had felt different his whole life, Ted felt free to express his true identity. I wanted to be authentically myself -- which was female. I didn't feel like I needed to prove myself anymore to my father, to the world, to my mom.
I didn't need to be a man. For the next two years, Ted lived predominantly as a man, but in a sort of gender no-man's land, a hybrid. He grew his hair out, but would pull it back into a ponytail for work. He would wear men's clothes, but with women's accents. More and more, he felt compelled to become a she. Four years after the bee sting, Ted officially changed his name to Chloe Alison Prince and began living life as a woman. Transgender guidelines recommend a transsexual live in their gender of choice for one year before they undergo gender reasment surgery.
The longer period of transition for Ted did not lessen the shock for Rene was she was told that her husband was going to become a woman. There was nothing I could say that would change those feelings. Feeling as if he had no choice, Ted, now Chloe, forged ahead and in May , flew to Thailand, a country known for their gender reasment surgeons. Chloe underwent 13 hours of major surgeries. Her male brow bone was shaved down, and she had a vaginoplasty and labiaplasty.
Chloe understands that her choice to transition to living as a woman has not only affected her, but all those around her. When you decide to transition, everybody else transitions with you. When I chose to be a girl, when I chose to be Chloe, everybody else is forced to make decisions as well," she said. Would Chloe return home as Rene's husband, or wife? Would she be considered her sons' father or mother? Is she her parents' son or daughter? How did she return to the same job as a different gender? How would her rural Ohio community react to her?
ABC News' "Primetime" spent a year following Chloe Prince and learning firsthand of the everyday struggles that she and her family face due to her transition. Watch "Primetime: Family Secrets" on Tuesday, July 21 to get a glimpse into the Prince home, and watch as, not only a woman, but as a whole family transforms.
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