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VICE Canada Reports

The Struggles of One Black Trans Man

We spoke with Toronto filmmaker Lucah Rosenberg-Lee, who explores transphobia, sexism and racism in his new documentary.

For Lucah Rosenberg-Lee, life has been a series of transitions. "I came out as gay…then I came out as trans, which ironically made me straight again," the Toronto filmmaker told VICE in an interview for On Hold, a documentary exploring transgender health access in Canada.

His latest transition, captured in his film Passing, is about the experience of being a black trans man.

"Black men are perceived in a way that you're not used to being perceived as let's say dangerous or violent or being now part of a media that tells you that you are those things," he said.


Watch On Hold: Investigating Transgender Health Access in Canada

"A lot of times, if I'm walking at night, a woman will start walking faster and faster just to make sure that I'm not trailing her."

Rosenberg-Lee, whose documentary is currently making the rounds at film festivals, said when he first transitioned he just wanted to "pass" for being a male, but as time progressed—he grew a beard—that was no longer an issue.

"No one assumes that I'm trans, to a point where even if I were to tell them, they almost don't believe me."

Part of what prompted him to speak out instead of remaining "stealth" is the discrimination he encountered while being perceived as a cisgender male.

"I don't know if I want to be a part of a system that's just going to perpetuate this type of behavior," he said.

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