The SCHOOLGIRL best friends who married after one had a sex change operation to become a MAN — are now the proud parents of a baby son.
Toni Harper, 22, and Sean Horton, 26, first met as teenagers when Sean was a pretty blonde girl called Sian.
They became inseparable and Sean ‘came out’ to best friend Toni after years of torment about his gender and sexuality.
Sean started hormone treatment and Toni gradually fell in love him as his voice deepened and he grew facial hair.
They decided to start a family with a help of a sperm donor and put the seal on their relationship by getting married in March.
Toni has now given birth to their adorable son Romany Martin and they say their family is now complete.
She said: “It is everything we have always wanted. I love being a mum, although it took a lot to sink in at first.”
Proud Sean added: “We always wanted it but we didn’t think it would happen.”
The couple, from Knowle, Bristol, were at different schools growing up and met through friends.
They grew closer when they started talking every day on MSN Messenger.
They became best friends and Toni was the first person Sean told about wanting to be a man before he revealed his feelings to his mother Heather, 51.
Heather said: “I cuddled him and he said to me ‘you don’t understand, I’m a man’.
“Later he just came out and said it – he wanted a sex change. I said ‘whatever you want, we will be there for you’.”
Sean’s family approached his GP and he was referred to London’s Gender Identity Clinic.
After months of sessions with a psychiatrist to confirm he was making the right decision, he began hormone treatment at the age of 20.
After a couple of years where they had drifted apart Sean met Toni again and they realised their feelings for each other were as strong as ever.
Toni, who works at Marks and Spencer, said: “It felt weird at first, but we started seeing each other more and more until we started going out and growing closer and closer.
“When Sean first told me, I asked him how that could be possible. It was so difficult, but I knew what was going on deep inside.”
Sean had a full mastectomy and a year later began genital surgery – a series of four operations including one where medics took skin from his arm.
The couple had artificial insemination treatment with donor sperm and spent #8,000 at a private clinic on three unsuccessful attempts.
They planned their wedding some time ago but put it on hold after Sean’s dad Martin was diagnosed with cancer.
On the day Martin died they got the news they could have further insemination treatment, this time on the NHS, and it worked at the first attempt.
Toni recalled: “We did a pregnancy test in the morning and we just left it on the kitchen side because obviously we were just used to having negative all the time.
“We went back five minute later to check it and it said ‘pregnant’ and we couldn’t believe it.”
They tied the knot on March 28 after winning a #12,000 wedding with local paper The Bristol Post.
They beat 182 rival couples with a staggering 1,007,400 votes and walked down the aisle at Double Tree by Hilton Cadbury House hotel in Yatton, Somerset.
The prize included all the trimmings with three-course meal, luxury bridal suite, dress, suit hire, wedding cake, photographer, transport and flowers.
Romany Martin – named after Sean’s late dad – arrived on 3rd May, weighing 8lbs 14oz.
Excited Sean said: “I believe this is fate falling on us.
“He wanted his first grandson as bad as we did, but when he was here we had three failed attempts.
“Then, after he passed away, we managed to get pregnant on the first attempt.”
He added: “It was hard because we were trying to arrange all the wedding at the same time and trying to make sure you’ve got enough of everything for the baby as well.
“We didn’t think this would ever happen.”
Baby Romany Martin is now settling in at home and Toni added: “Every time anyone sees him they say ‘what a stunning baby’.
Sean added: “He gets bombarded.”