The transgender elephant in the room…..the studies mechanics described for curbing this trend are correct, but without understanding the underlying forces driving this trend, the mechanics are useless.
This study examined our population (MTF) who are early in transition (youth) and compared the results against cisgender, homosexual and bisexual groups of the same demographic and found these alarming but unsurprising results.
From the study “Sexual Risk Taking Among Transgender Male-to-Female Youths With Different Partner Types”
We interviewed 120 transgender female youths aged 15 to 24 years recruited from clinics, community-based agencies, club and bar venues, referrals, and the streets of Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
Sexual risk behaviors varied by partner type. Transgender female youths were less likely to use condoms during receptive anal intercourse with their main partner and were less likely to use condoms with a main partner while under the influence of substances. Youth participants were also more likely to talk to a main partner about their HIV status. Our data identified no demographic or social factors that predicted condom use during receptive anal intercourse by partner type.
Research and interventions that focus on understanding and mitigating risk behaviors by partner type, especially those that tackle the unique risks incurred with main partners, may make important contributions to risk reduction among transgender female youths. read the study in full click here
Why would these results not surprise me? As a transgender female in early transition I was living proof of this study.
I engaged in risky sex because;
I had Low self estem, I was alienated from family and I was struggling with adolescent precepts molded by a overbearing patriarchy. I found camaraderie, identity and anonymity in the sex for drug culture. These social mores that brought me to that condition are self propagating. The people who defined our subservience and sentenced us to the resultant perpetual ignominy are the same ones who relied on our sexual availability and shameful silence to live out there secret fantasies, always unknown to their wives.
I was addicted to drugs and while high I temporarily lost my inhibitions and was a willing sexual partner, to anyone. I needed to stay high. Coming down was a bitch maginfing the shame and self hatred I sought to escape.
I could engage in multiple sexual activities in a short time when high and earn enough to ‘maintain’ my high.
I had a facilitative mainlining partner. We never engaged in protected sex in our open relationship. Becuse I was afraid I was infected I remained untested which served to fuel my recklessness.
My turn around was my higher powers doing. One fine day life, out of the clear blue, not just my own, but the well being of others suddenly became a prime concern.
After 20 some years.
I am employed.
I love Church.
I walk a hour a day for fitness. I am often propositioned, hooted and honked at and I simply smile. I am so happy with my boyfriend who loves me. I have goals, friends, advocacy and a kitty who loves me. I am so at peace with my creator(usually).
I wouldn’t, couldn’t not again to those depths of despair dive.
What can we do? Continue what we have been doing by feminizing our society which opens avenues for empathy, compassion and eventually sisterhood and brotherhood for all.
So I’ll continue to read, write and talk about our female transgender elephant in the room.