Real Life

My wife’s my wingwoman

Claire Atkins discusses finding out her husband was transgender

When Claire Atkins’ husband of six years announced he was transgender, the mother-of-three was devastated, but she vowed to support him. Now they even go out on the pull together!

The 41-year old nursing student from Lincolnshire, England, broke down in tears after Marcus announced that he wanted to live as a woman. The butch builder started taking hormones, sold his bike to pay for 36E breast implants and changed his name to Celeste.

They continued to live together for the sake of their kids and stayed best friends even when Celeste, 37, had full gender-reassignment surgery to complete her transformation. Now both single, they head out to nightclubs most weekends to hunt for men, acting as wing-women for each other.

“We probably get on better now than we did while we were married,” tells Claire. “We both want each other to be happy and to find someone suitable. “Seeing Celeste with other people doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The only time I’ll object is if I think she’s got her vodka goggles on.”

Celeste laughs, “We compare notes all the time while we’re out, but thankfully, we’ve got very different types. I go for well-groomed, pretty boys, while she likes scruffy, grungy guys in greasy overalls, so we don’t have to worry about pinching each other’s boyfriends!” Claire adds, “We’ve never had to fight over the same man yet, but she’s quite protective over me and my choice in men. If anyone upsets me, they have her to deal with – and anyone I want a relationship with has to accept Celeste too.

“Most people think it’s really weird and say they’d have been out the door and gone if they were me, but I couldn’t leave her. We’re not a conventional family, but who is nowadays?”

Living a lie

Claire and Marcus met in 2005 and were married within 12 months. But after seven years together, Claire started to worry Marcus was having an affair as he was drinking more and they’d stopped having sex. In 2012, a drunken Marcus broke down and confessed he’d always known he was a woman in a man’s body. Celeste says, “For all my life, I’d turned to masculine interests like motorbikes, but deep down, I wanted to ride ponies. Telling Claire was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but I couldn’t carry on.

“I still love Claire to pieces. She’s been my rock and pushed me hard to face the challenges of transgender surgery. I can’t thank her enough. Both of us are now moving on with our lives, and there’s nothing more I want then for Claire to be happy and find a man.”

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