This season of “The Chi” (the Showtime show about life on the Southside of Chicago) introduces the character of Imani, a black trans womxn, who is dating Trig.  This type of union, that of a black trans womxn and a cis black man, is one rarely seen on TV or represented within media.  Seeing this type of imagery awakens long lost and dormant personal ideals of love I have long ago shelved.  


The Mahogany Project, Inc. recently had a discussion for “We Got Pride” (their black TQLGB+ virtual Pride experience) that centered on “Dating while trans”, which myself and the incomparable actress/activist/personality Toni Bryce discussed our views and well as our own history of dating, relationships, and romance.  This intersectional dialogue made me delve deep into my own self and my ever-evolving thoughts of dating and love.  



I always dreamed of whimsical, romantic love.  Passions on-top of passions that would exist between myself and a man, presumably a cis black man.  In this idyllic dream, we experience life, love, and all that the world the world has to offer.  In my younger, ingenue self, one that was fresh faced and eager to love and be loved, this seemed like an easy feat.  The older I got and the more I continued along this journey of life, I found that dream seemingly more and more distant.  


Transgender murders have reached at least 21 (that we know of) with black trans womxn being the majority of those murdered, especially in the South, especially in Texas, which is the epicenter for black trans womxn being murdered.  Black trans womxn are being killed at unprecedented rates; so much so that it continues to be noted as a national epidemic.  One misconception is that black trans womxn are being killed by strangers.  Or that black trans womxn are “deceiving these men”, motivating and instigating their murders.  What has been proven, time and time again, is that not only are these womxn murdered by people, usually cis black men, that were acquainted with, but these men were well aware of their identity.  These flagrant and false narratives feed the continued transphobia, misogynoir, and dehumanization of black trans womxn.  Our own story only seems to be tied to what we have to offer cis black men; our bodies are deemed expendable.  


As a black trans womxn who is free-spirited and sexually liberated, these times are truly challenging to say the least.  I’ve never been afraid of loving, dating, and have prided myself on having a healthy dating life.  Even throughout this rollercoaster ride (which has included sexual assault, transphobic-led heartbreak, and much loneliness), I have lived, learned, and vowed that it will always get better.  I was optimistic and confident that, regardless of my trans identity, I would be able to have an active, “normal” dating life; especially with a move to Houston, Texas, from my home of Los Angeles.  


I wish I could say that it was better.  But it is not.  


These recent murders trigger anxiety and PTSD surrounding previous sexual assaults and attacks.  I try to work through them, and push forward but the men I encounter don’t make it easier.  


It is unfortunate that, in 2020, loving a trans womxn is still taboo.  In a time where there is social media that connects all types of people to ever corner and facet of the world, we still have cis black men (and cis-hetero men overall) who have not learned how to process their attraction or feelings for trans womxn.  It’s also sad that much transphobia is reinforced by cis black women who are so invested in archaic white, patriarchal gender roles that they would rather see trans womxn (especially black trans womxn) torn down, humiliated, and destroyed than to align with them in sisterhood.  


This rampant transphobia and misogynoir lead many cis black men to simply not bother dealing with their complex feelings; having them objectify and fetishize trans womxn for their parts and not their wholeness, disposing of them afterwards.  Trans womxn become merely an object and thing these men use to momentarily satisfy their deeply repressed feelings and desires.  


While the current social climate may make it easier for some cis black men to approach me, their often suppressed feelings and deep-rooted transphobia, they still don’t know how to effectively communicate with me as a black womxn or trans experience.  I am not a whole person; just parts for temporary satisfaction. 


Even as the dialogue of trans and TGNC identity and representation expands, it seems like cis black men still cannot openly (and constructively) discuss their own feelings. 


And where does that leave a womxn like me?  


Alone.  Because in 2020, men still want to treat me as a secret, or some perverse sexual object that they can play with at their will.  Men who are still on the “downlow” are, in 2020, still trying to steal away moments to talk to me, or want to escape their mundane life to indulge their innermost fantasies.  


I often wonder if that dream will ever be possible.  Because it seems like dealing with cis black men becomes more of a tale of compromise and continued concession than one of romance and love.  

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As a black womxn of trans experience, I continue to proclaim that I am not a secret, a plaything, or a fetishized object.  I deserve to be loved as a whole, not just for the level of sexual satisfaction I can provide.  I deserve to be romanced, dated, courted; all the sappy, corny romantic and love shit. 


I want to believe that the dream of a long-lasting love for a black trans womxn is possible.  But as murders of black trans womxn continue, cis black men continue with their misguided phallic fetishism, and the larger black community continues to deny black trans womxn space in the social justice fight and appropriate communal representation, that dream seems to move further and further away; replaced by a grim reality.