Married At First Sight UK’s Ella says many men see trans women as a ‘fetish’

Married at First Sight UK's first trans bride, Ella Clark

Ella Clark, the first transgender contestant on E4’s Married at First Sight UK, has spoken about some of the difficulties of dating as a trans woman.

Earlier this month, E4 teased the return of the drama-packed reality series, revealing that 29-year-old clinic consultant and self-confessed “blonde bombshell” Ella would be one of the new contestants.

Ella, from Weston-super-Mare, in the southwest of England, will join seven other brides and eight grooms as they head down the aisle and marry a complete stranger. The end goal being, of course, to find a love that lasts.

Speaking to OK! magazine ahead of the series, Ella revealed that her experience of dating as a trans woman has been tough – with many men seeing her as a “fetish” or not wanting to be public about their relationship.

“Growing up, my dream was to be a princess, a wife, a mother. Back then, I didn’t think that was possible: that I could transition and be who I am”, said Ella.

“Being trans, I found men didn’t want to be with me openly – a lot of guys see us as a fetish, so I never believed I would get married.”

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However, after receiving gender-affirming care and being able to live as her authentic self, she realised that wedding bells were indeed a possibility.

“After transitioning and having all my surgeries, I just thought, ‘I do want to get married’, and that I owed it to six-year-old me to fulfil my dream,” she said.

Ella isn’t the first trans person in the public eye to have divulged their poor experiences with dating.

In April, Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney, who will appear in Russell T Davies’ new Doctor Who series later this year, told Elle magazine: “The guys I go out with… they get intimidated by me and I’m trying to date people my own age.

“When you have to rely on other people’s validation, you’re not going to survive in this world,” adding that she’s just fine being single. “This world wasn’t built on your boyfriend buying you everything. Be your own sugar daddy.”

For Ella, however, love is pretty high up on her wish list. 

Speaking ahead of the series launch about being the show’s first transgender contestant, she said: “This experiment is so much more than just me getting married. I see this as a big deal for someone who has transitioned.”

Ella’s fellow brides are Tasha, Shona, Rosaline, Porscha, Peggy, Laura and Jay, while the grooms are Thomas, Terence, Paul, Nathanial, Luke, Georges, Brad and Arthur.

Married at First Sight airs on E4 on Monday (18 September).