Couple Stays Together 40 Years, Despite Transgender Husband’s Transition To A Woman, ‘I Love The Person, Not The Gender’

An Illinois woman named Ellen Maurizio learned nine years ago that her husband of 30 years was transgender, and wanted to transition into a woman named Erica. Despite the change in gender identity, Ellen says that though she was initially shocked, she knew that she loved Erica and couldn’t image her life without her other half. Therefore, the couple decided to stay together. Ellen has remained happily married to Erica, and the pair are planning their 40th anniversary celebration.

The Daily Mail reports Ellen Maurizio married her high school sweetheart in 1976. The traditional couple lived as man and wife for 30 years, having two sons together. However, in 2006, Ellen learned that her husband of 30 years identified as a woman and that his name was actually Erica. Ellen says that she was initially shocked, as the conversation began so casually with Ellen simply asking her husband what he would like for his birthday. The response she received was “a little black dress and pumps.” With that one honest answer, Ellen learned that her husband was transgender and had been living a lie all these years.

Erica Maurizio

Erica explained that that moment in 2006 was pivotal, as it was either “transition or suicide,” as she could no longer live as a man when she knew in her heart that she was a woman. In fact, Erica says she had known since the age of three that she was really a woman trapped in a man’s body.

“I always had these feelings, since I was [3]-years-old… I thought I could bury this thing and live with it. It was either transition or suicide.”

The revelation that Erica was a woman was fully supported by Ellen, who claims prior to gender reassignment surgery, the pair would go to nightclubs with Erica dressed as a woman. However, during the day, Erica would remain dressed in men’s clothing.

Finally, in 2008, Erica underwent gender reassignment surgery and had a hair transplant and lip lift. Following the transition, Ellen questioned Erica on if she had feelings for men. Erica explained to Ellen that she had no sexual desires for men, and the pair decided to remain married. Ellen says that she had no intention of divorcing Erica, as she is her best friend, lover, and spouse.

“She’s my spouse, she’s my best friend, she’s my lover. I knew there was someone else in this world who accepted me for me, and loved me just for the person I was.”

Erica Maurizio

Though Ellen decided to remain with Erica, the Chicago Tribune notes that the newly transitioned wife said that she would have understood if Ellen decided to divorce her, as the marriage was made under “false pretenses.” Ellen was able to forgive Erica for lying to her about her gender identity issues for 30 years, noting that she always loved “the person, not the gender.” Now, the couple is preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary together. Ellen says that its been a “good journey” and that she likes this “new person” she is married to, and doesn’t think she would ever want to “go back” to pre-2008.

Ellen says despite now being married to a woman, she still identifies as heterosexual but is a “situational lesbian.” She notes that the couple “transitioned together,” and that they had to work together throughout the process.

What do you think about the Maurizio family’s unique situation?

[Image Credit: Facebook image of Erica Maurizio before-and-after gender reassignment surgery]