90 Day Fiancé star Cleo made history as the first transgender woman to star on the franchise when she made her debut on season 6 of 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days alongside her love interest, Christian. The United Kingdom native is not only open about her gender identity but also vocal about her life as an autistic, neurodivergent woman.
What Has ‘90 Day Fiance’ Star Cleo Said About Being Transgender?
Cleo opened up about being transgender during a season 6 episode of 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days.
“At birth I was assigned male. However, I identify as a transgender woman,” she explained during her debut episode. “Growing up, I always related more to my female peers.”
Cleo added that she “tried [her] hardest” to “fit in as a man,” though it never felt right to her.
“It was just so hard to look in the mirror or just simply go about my daily life. I remember going to sleep and, like, praying that the next morning I would wake up as a girl,” the TLC personality said. “But at the same time, I was scared that the majority of people in my life would never have accepted me and I felt it was already hard enough because of being autistic and I didn’t want to add anything else to the mix.”
Following her reality TV debut, the season 6 star opened up online about her preferred pro-nouns and also clapped back at claims from trolls that she was “just a cross-dresser because she hadn’t had any surgeries.”
“I’m not non-binary, my brain is totally that of a woman,” she captioned a runway picture in July 2023. “But I love they/them pronouns! My pronouns are she/her & they/them is also okay. (I believe that before being males and females we are just people/souls).”
The Italy native went on to say she wished people understood that surgery wasn’t something she wanted.
“Not every trans woman wants to or can have surgeries,” she continued. “If you really struggle to see me as a woman, you can totally use they/them for me.”
What Has ‘90 Day Fiance’ Star Cleo Said About Dating As a Transgender Woman?
Before she met her long-distance boyfriend, Christian, in person, Cleo explained that he had never dated a transgender woman before.
After admitting she was insecure about their relationship, the reality star explained that Christian assured her that he doesn’t care that she’s transgender.
“He said, ‘I’m attracted to you as a person and I don’t see how, you know, the fact that you’re trans would be a problem for me,’” she told her friend. “Obviously I am worried that once he’s here, like, maybe there’s certain things about me that maybe, like, he wouldn’t have noticed online or, you know, maybe be bothered by the things about me that I’m insecure about.”
Cleo noted that she’s “come so far” with her transition, but there are still things she “would want to change” like her Adam’s apple or hairline.
Fans watched the Italy native meet Christian for the first time during the July 9 episode.
“Cleo’s the first person that’s transgender and autistic that I’ve formed a really close relationship with and this is something that’s new for me,” he explained. “I just really hope that things go well and that neither of us end up being brokenhearted.”
Has 90 Day Fiance’s Cleo Had Gender Confirmation Surgery?
As her relationship with Christian heated up, the runway model revealed that “one thing led to another” and the pair had sex during the August 6 episode. She pleasantly reported that it wasn’t awkward despite her not having completed her gender confirmation surgeries.
“I’ve got kind of complexes about the fact, you know, there’s still certain, you know, transition-related surgeries that I’d like to get,” she told her friend Jane. “I probably might be more androgynous.”
However, after finding out that Christian told producers that they only “hit second base,” Cleo felt he broke her trust by lying about their evening together.
“I’m obviously feeling very agitated and confused as to why he was so vague with the producers and was not transparent at all,” Cleo told Jane later that day. In a private confessional, she added, “I let myself be vulnerable with Christian those nights, so for him to go on and lie about our intimacy today feels extremely confusing and upsetting.”
While Christian said he was “protecting” Cleo, Cleo felt she was being gaslit by the U.S. native and refused to be his “secret lover.”
“Maybe he doesn’t want people or his family to be able to know that he has been intimate with a trans woman,” Cleo continued. “He doesn’t want to hear their opinions.”
Following the episode’s airing, Cleo was not ready to speak about the situation and called it “triggering.”
“I only watched a few clips but I have gathered what seems to have happened,” she wrote via her Instagram Stories on August 6. “I’m trying to be strong.”
What Has ‘90 Day Fiance’ Star Cleo Said About Being Autistic?
In addition to discussing her journey as a trans activist, Cleo has also been open about being autistic.
“Me being autistic, I’m very introverted and kind of worried that this could cause some friction,” she said during the June 25 episode while discussing her concerns about dating Christian, who she described as the “life of the party.”
She continued, “I feel [he’s] probably the most extroverted person that I’ve ever dated. So that kind of scares me a little bit. In my past relationships, there’s definitely been times where I felt … like I was a burden, because maybe I was getting too anxious or I would refuse to do things, refuse to go out. And that made things hard.”
Cleo not only discussed being autistic on the show, but also on social media.
On July 2, the reality star took to YouTube to address speculation regarding her accent. While she was born in Italy, Cleo explained that her accent was unique because she learned English from watching movies and TV shows.
Additionally, she explained that her autism impacts her speech.
“Sometimes we have stilted speech,” Cleo said about how autistic people speak, noting that sometimes she sounds “rigid” while trying to express herself.
She added that people with autism have “different from other people around us and the people we were raised by.”
“That is literally a diagnostic criteria for autism,” Cleo shared.
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