Transgendercide: the impact of conceptualizing transgenders as men who have sex wirth men
Issues: Over the course of the AIDS pandemic there have been significant shifts in how HIV practice and policy define, and therefore address, the various vulnerable groups. Today, many HIV agencies classify male to female transgenders as "men who have sex with men" (MSM).
Description: Throughout the epidemic transgenders have played an important part in prevention and care projects for sex workers, drug users, PLHA, migrants, prisoners and gay men. In many countries transgenders were formerly able to work in communities and access services for all these populations, and in some cases to form our own groups. But donors, governments and the UN have increasingly defined us as "MSM" which violates our right to self determination and increasingly limits us to accessing services aimed at men. We are invisibilised in HIV statistics so opportunities to identify and address our vulnerabilities are missed.
Lessons learned: Re-labelling transgenders as men, of any sexual orientation, undermines access to services, possibilities for innovative, peer-led programs, and opportunities to identify and address our health and human rights issues.
Next steps: Transgenders from several organisations and their supporters are calling on the UN, HIV agencies, policy organisations, women´s organisations, gay groups and civil society to recognise the right to self define. We will ask these agencies not to address transgenders in HIV programming and policy as "men who have sex with men." Heeding this call will help make HIV programs more respectful, and therefore more effective, and enable better understandings of transgenders within HIV epidemics.
-Abstract available at link below-