When a man loves a woman, it doesn’t matter if he was born a she and she was born a he — just ask Mark and Jessica Lynn Cummings.
The Florida lovebirds met in 2011 and are getting hitched next year – after each changed genders.
Muscle-bound Mark was born a girl with wavy brown hair and a pretty smile called Maritza Perdomo, while blonde Jessica was once a tow-headed boy named Shawn O’Donnell.
But Mark, 49, a dedicated weightlifter and occupational therapist, transitioned in 2003 and is now legally recognized as a man.
And Jessica, 39, underwent an operation to remove her testicles earlier this year and is now officially a woman who is already using her future hubby’s surname.
The unlikely couple said it was love at first sight.
“With Jessica I have found true love for the first time in my life. It’s like something you see in the movies. Because she has gone through the same journey as me she knows the pain and suffering that it can be to be a transgender person,” Mark said.
“Now I don’t believe being transgender is a curse and I want to make other trans people feel good about themselves. If people want to judge us for our relationship I would say, what makes your relationship better than mine?”
Like her husband-to-be, Jessica suffered discrimination and painful gender identity issues growing up – even attempting suicide before owning up to her family that she was transgender.
“Growing up knowing I wasn’t who people said I was left me feeling alienated and alone. I couldn’t see a way out, it was the worst feeling in the world,” she said. ”For years I thought I was a gay man, but now I know who I am and Mark completes me.”
After years living as a man, at age 35 Jessica told her family that she was trapped in the wrong body.
“It took months before I could finally tell my parents, but I didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for. Only my grandmother really stood by me,” she said ruefully.
“Meeting Mark helped me to fully accept myself and love who I am as a trans woman. Our relationship is the kind that people dream of – our first kiss was magic,” she said.
The first time she saw her future husband, Jessica thought he was a hunk – but never guessed he had been born as a girl.
“When he told me I was wanted to know more about him,” she gushed.
Mark said the unique nature of their backgrounds had made them more simpatico.
“To the outside world we are a normal heterosexual couple, but being transgender I feel like we are even more in tune with each other. Having been a female I can understand what Jessica is feeling and vice versa,” he said. “We share this incredible bond, which is almost like sharing the same brain.”
And Mark admitted that before meeting Jessica he was a virgin at age 48.
“Losing my virginity to Jessica is something incredibly special that I’ll never forget,” he blissfully recalled.
Now the pair has each other’s name tattooed on their bodies.
Mark, who as Maritza was a female bodybuilder before surgery made him a man, now calls Jessica his “princess’ and relishes his role as her protector.
“I love fulfilling the role as Jessica’s provider and protector. I love taking care of her ,” he said. “Going through all the pain we’ve been through it’s almost like we were rewarded by being placed in each other’s lives.”
The couple, from Wilton Manors, Florida, hosts Transition Radio — a show aimed at raising awareness about discrimination and other issues transgender people face.