Many years ago, I had an ex, Ray.  Although he was a lot older than me and we both were in different phases of our life, our relationship was built on our mutual affection and desire for each other. Although we were very much infatuated with each other, our relationship soon fizzled because of his fierce objection to be seen out in public with me or to bring me around his friends (even going as far as to say he would ‘never bring “me” around his boys, and that I should know better’.) 


I can also remember another ex, Eric, who I was very much in love with each other.  Not only was there passion in our relationship, but we also shared tastes in music, movies, and having long, thought-provoking conversations.  We were very much smitten with each other, and even contemplated and discussed moving in together.  And then, he left me.  For a young girl, who he said was “more appropriate and the type of girl he could bring home to his mother.”  Even after admitting that my career-driven independence, free-spirited, and overall intellectual personality was one he loved and favored more than hers, he still chose her.  I was crushed.  


Sadly, tales like this aren’t uncommon within the trans community.  Dating while trans can be one of the most difficult things.  And for many within the trans community, dating is nearly impossible.  


Being trans, you already have to navigate the journey of gender expression and identity, issues/questions of transitioning, and a myriad of personal feelings among other things, intimate relationships with people is another complicated layer to add to that. 


Human physical contact and intimacy is an essential part of what makes us human and yet trans persons are denied these very things.  Being trans often means a life often void of intimacy and legitimate human contact.  


Trans people are not looked at as people; only for our “parts” and our seemingly reduced to phallic, fetishized objects that are picked apart.  While every trans person’s journey is individual and unique, there are commonalities and similarities.  



As a trans woman, and as a BLACK, trans woman, I have to deal with an exponentially, increased form of intersectional misogynoir on-top of the transphobia.  I have to deal with men who are very interested in me until they find out I’m trans, and then deduce to calling me every ignorant, transphobic slur. I also have to deal with cisgender women so threatened by the remote prospect of addition to their dating pool that they are often the first disrespect and slander.  


Dating men as a black trans woman is having 99 percent of the men approach you explicitly for sex. It’s having men assume that, because you are trans, you are a sexual deviant or a phallic sexual object to act out their sexual fantasies.  Dating men as a black trans woman means that most men expect you to take what you can get. And what they throw at you.  Most times, you are not able to date, be courted, or take part in romantic rites of passages.  


As a trans woman, we don’t get the opportunity to interact and meet men in daily life, and are many times relegated to dating apps where we are forced to bear the blunt of much transphobia and fetishism with many cisgender, heterosexual men.  


Dating while trans isn’t just about the men that approach] you, but moreso about the men that don’t approach you.  Most men who are genuinely interested in trans women are so scared and live drenched in fear dictated by our transphobic culture.  The majority will never act on or pursue their interests out of fear of what others will think, and because they themselves are made to feel shameful and conflicted.  


While I myself have been able to experience and have some good dating experiences (and I can say that I am in the minority, and also say it had to due with the fact that I am from Los Angeles), I also have had my fair share of horror stories.  


I have been the victim of sexual assault more than once, by men who were interested romantically in me; the last of which led to a long bought of anxiety, PTSD, and depression that has affected me and my intimate relationships to this day.  And I am far from the only one.  Trans women are 70% more likely to be assaulted by a romantic partner in public. With the number of trans women’s murders on the rise, many of the culprits are rumored to have been romantically linked to their trans victims.  


Instead of love and intimacy, shame and sex tend to lead many interactions between men.  


And if you are one of the ones who choose to not accept this plight, you are more often left to loneliness and the void of romantic love.   


Is there a bright light at the end of this dark and dismal tunnel?  





I have had the pleasure and the blessing to experience love and romance; albeit short-lived.  And those experiences let me know that it can happen.  It helps me to never lower my standards for fleeting moments with throwaway men.  


But most importantly, those moments taught me that contrary to what the world says, I not only deserve love, romance, and all that entails, but I can achieve it, on my terms.