British husband and American wife get married again as two women after 17 years following his gender reassignment surgery
Cheryl Palmer, 58, and Ian Hawkes, 55, first met online 20 years ago before getting married in 2000 and having a son together
A British husband and his American wife just married as two women and opened up about how the sex change made them fall deeper in love with each other.
Ian Hawkes first met Cheryl Palmer 20 years ago in an online chatroom, Daily Mail reports.
58-year-old Cheryl, an insurance worker, was attracted to 55-year-old former hairdresser Ian—now named SueZie—for his honesty and humor. On the other hand, Ian was impressed by Cheryl's gentle personality.
As the relationship blossomed, Ian became comfortable to share his concerns and eventually decided to change his gender.
In 2000, Ian moved to Florida to be with Cheryl and they married each other. Their son Jasion was born just months later.
Ian was fighting an inner turmoil despite having the perfect relationship on the outside. He finally decided to go through with gender reassignment surgery in 2014 to become SueZie.
According to SueZie, the event marked the end of years of unhappiness, after she revealed she felt like a woman from the age of five.
She had remained closeted from her family and previous relationships for decades, but she decided enough was enough after turning 50.
Transgender was an alien term back in 1997, and a surgery to facilitate a transition was difficult to fathom.
However, this did not deter SueZie, who went on to administer hormones on herself without medical supervision.
She eventually switched to more feminine clothing and started working on a make-up counter.
One day, SueZie told Cheryl "she couldn't do this anymore."
She had been tucking her penis between her legs for the longest time—which had been extremely painful. She said if she was ever aroused, she would be "trying to fight against the curve and it was painful."
"It hampered our sex life because I couldn't associate with it," she told Mirror. "They [doctors] wanted to fix it and they told me what they were going to do, open it and rebuild it. I said to Cheryl 'Why am I having fixed someone I don't associate with and don't want? How about take this time and transition?'"
After almost five years of endless discussions, the pair eventually decided to go through with the operation.
SueZie opened her eyes after regaining consciousness post surgery and felt between her legs. She struck a broad smile as she realized her penis had gone.
"It was extremely emotional," she said. "When I came home, laying on my front and not having that sensation down there felt so natural and how it should always have been. I always felt like SueZie on the inside."
The next big hurdle was how SueZie would be accepted by her colleagues.
On her first day back at work at the Coca Cola headquarters following the surgery, she went in wearing a dress and letting her hair grow.
"Walking into the office on the first day after the official transition was about as soul-destroying you could ever imagine," she said. "Because certain people think it's a joke. You could see their reactions written all over their faces."
Cheryl and SueZie only grew closer following the procedure, with her latter saying most of her previous memories were "wiped out."
"I don't remember a lot about my first marriage. A lot of memories were wiped out," she explained. "I know I was married and where it was, but there are so many memories that have been totally remapped. All the first wedding pictures came down. That was upsetting for Cheryl because it felt like I was throwing out our past. For me to see me as SueZie—who I always felt I was on the inside—and help get away from all those male memories that I had, you've got to remap."
In 2017, the couple flew to Las Vegas and remarried as two females.
"It was very emotional. It was so meaningful to have Cheryl go through the whole thing with two separate people," SueZie said. "The second marriage really felt like a first marriage for me."
Now, she is working on her biography 'Desperately Seeking SueZie', which is set to release next year.
"Our relationship has been changed for the better. I'm so much happier. I have a much, much better understanding of Cheryl's body," she added. "Our sex life is the best it's ever been for both of us. It just works. Cheryl never thought she was going to be a lesbian, although she doesn't see herself as one because if she was single she wouldn't go dating girls. It's just that she fell in love with SueZie and I fell in love with Cheryl.
SueZie continued: "She always said she married the person, not the appendage. If I was single I wouldn't go for a female. With a guy, I know exactly what I would do. But Cheryl's the trump card because she is the most attractive person there ever is in the world to me."
Meanwhile, Cheryl added: "My favorite thing about SueZie is the laughter and light I see in her face. Her eyes are now smiling but before they hurt and it's a really great change."