The unusual case has now reached the Constitutional Court in Rome, which began its deliberations this week.

“My body may have changed, but the love between us remains the same. I’m acting to defend our marriage,” Alessandro/Alessandra, 43, told La Repubblica newspaper on Wednesday.

“I fell in love with her nearly 20 years ago when I was a man and we love each other as much as the first day we met, despite the fact that after a long journey and many operations I became a woman. Why should the state now try to separate us?”

He had felt confused about his sexuality since a very young age.