Zoë Chowney, after coming out as a transgender woman, reconnected with her ex-partner Sandra Onate and the two tied the knot! Image via Instagram @zoechowney

‘My ex-boyfriend is now a woman’: Couple ties the knot 20 years later

‘She’s the same person’: After coming out as a transgender woman, Zoë Chowney reconnected with her ex, Sandra Onate and they got married!


Zoë Chowney, after coming out as a transgender woman, reconnected with her ex-partner Sandra Onate and the two tied the knot! Image via Instagram @zoechowney

Mike Chowney met Sandra Onate in Bogota, Colombia in 1998 but their romantic relationship ended years later when they decided to go their separate ways. Mike, who now identifies as a transgender woman who goes by Zoë, reunited with Sandra 20 years later and Sandra was shocked to learn that her ex-boyfriend was now a woman. 

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Speaking to The Daily Mail, Zoë Chowney (formerly Mike Chowney) said she suffered from gender dysphoria and has a “secret cache of women’s clothes” that she would wear in private when she still identified as a man. 

After Chowney separated from Sandra Onate in 2000, the two married different people and led their own lives, but the 51-year-old’s gender dysphoria still haunted her in 2014. A year later, Chowney was admitted to the hospital and was referred to the Cross Gender Identity Clinic in London. 

“I was naively hoping that with anti-depressants and specialist counselling, I could keep my life together,” recalled Zoe. 

“Why would I want to transition? I’d be moving from the most privileged demographic – an affluent middle-class, straight, white male – to the most marginalised group in a society: a trans woman. Why would anyone choose to do that?”


After visiting the Gender Identity Clinic in 2015, Chowney’s wife supported her transition but ultimately made the decision to get a divorce and together they broke the news to their two children. She finalised her transition in March 2017 and reunited with Sandra Onate through a professional network. 

“My ex-boyfriend is now a woman,” said Sandra when she reconnected with Zoe.

“As Zoë, I hoped that we could rekindle our closeness as female friends. How lovely and what a privilege that would be!” recalled Chowney.

“Had I been male and divorced, I’d never have contacted her. But this was very different.” 

Chowney and Sandra became friends and in September 2018 they kissed again for the first time in more than a decade.

“It’s hard to explain but it was both reassuringly familiar and wonderfully new,” she said. 

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Chowney and Sandra tied the knot in August 2020 at a small register office ceremony but they will have all their family and friends gather for a ceremony in Valencia, Spain for a wedding. 

In an interview with Prima Magazine, Sandra said her wedding day was “the best day of her life”. 

“Seeing her again felt so natural and magical once more. She’s the same person I fell in love with 20 years ago, only even more beautiful, more open and wiser.”