research Justice, Healing justice & Collective Care.
Our values as by and for trans health researchers.
Our work is about honoring and building on the knowledge of Transmasculine people and emphasizing community building in the research process. Research justice is the principle that marginalized communities should have the means and resources to conduct research on issues that impact them and that multiple kinds of knowledge should be valued.
This project reflects the knowledge, labor, and insights of dozens of Transmasculine people, a majority Black, Indigenous, People of Color. We came together as community organizers, health researchers, advocates, artists, and care workers, and allies. We told stories, shared meals, laughed, cried, and built skills together. Our shared interests are in lifting up our own and our communities’ holistic well-being, medical autonomy, sexual and reproductive freedoms, and ancestral wisdom.
Health care is a human right. This project started with a commitment to the principles of Health Justice. Health inequities experienced by Transmasculine people are a direct result of intersecting forms of oppression. We embrace a holistic approach to health knowledge and health care. We recognize the need for trans people to be able to access existing health care systems now, while working to transform society and how health care is organized and delivered in the future.
Social & Political change
We raise the alarm about health problems facing Transmasculine people in order to address the underlying conditions that drive health inequities. We conducted research as one of many political tools to resist our erasure in health fields and to advocate for access, autonomy, protection, and dignity in health care. We see this as one piece of a broader social change process that is currently taking place within, without, and against institutions that can cause harm.
Transformative Self-Help & Mutual Aid
Trans people have a long history of organizing our own health information and care practices. This happening everywhere, in conversations between friends, in community organizations, on social media, and in activist and academic literature. We hope to contribute to and lift up these forms of collective knowledge and community wisdom. We find inspiration and power in the work of our trans siblings and ancestors. We align this work with other forms of liberatory self-help and mutual aid strategies.
history of organizing
Our report is one project of an ongoing organizing effort.
- Gender Justice LA worked with the City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office and researchers at UCLA’s Department of Social Welfare to hold a focus group with transmasculine people about HIV prevention and broader health needs. Many participants described feeling invisible in Los Angeles and connected this to a lack of awareness and mistreatment in health services.
- With support from the AIDS Coordinator’s Office, community organizations began plans for a visibility and health promotion campaign focused on Transmasculine health.
Our first research effort helped support the development of the broader Transmasculine Health Justice initiative. The study used a multi-phase and mixed-methods Study design.
We launched An online survey in July 2017 as the single largest trans-led effort to understand health inequities facing transmasculine people in los Angeles County to date.
Eligibility & Completion
People were eligible to participate in the survey if they: 1) were age 18 or older; 2) were assigned female at birth, 3) did not exclusively identify as a woman or female; and 4) lived, worked, or received health care in Los Angeles. We used an array messaging strategies and terms to about who we hoped to include in terms of gender, including men, transgender men, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, men of trans experience, genderqueer, ftm, agender, etc.
326 eligible participants completed the eligibility screener. 300 participants completed the survey (92% completion rate). We excluded 16 surveys that were less than 40% complete.
Survey questions & measures
The survey questions were designed to focus on inequities in sexual and reproductive health and health care. This included a better understanding of social determinants of health for Transmasculine people in Los Angeles, including access to income, employment, housing, and immigration histories. We combined community developed measures, validated health assessment measures, and open response text fields. We designed questions to be responsive to diverse identities and bodies. For example, there were different pathways for those who had a recent sexual partner and those who had not, or those who have had a hysterectomy or had not, and so on
Outreach & Sampling
Very limited public health research has been conducted with transmasculine people in Los Angeles County and there were no reliable and comparable population estimates of transmasculine people at the time of the survey. We aimed to engage as many people as possible to reflect our values of radical inclusion. We focused on reaching Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income people because it was our intention to develop an action agenda that would center those living at the intersections of multiple systems of oppression. We used our survey outreach campaign to raise awareness and images from the #TMhealthLA campaign to spread positive images of Transmasculine people throughout the county.
- Print materials distributed to local organizations, health clinics, campus resources centers, culturally-specific service organizations, social clubs, venues and events;
- Individual emails sent to 50+ local organizations and groups requesting participation and distribution to their members;
- Word of mouth outreach through existing online social networks led by community members and influencers;
- Donated and paid for online advertising through social networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Scruff.
Survey Participants at a glance
Collaborators & funders
we had support along the way.
This project began as a partnership with the City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office and the UCLA Department of Social Welfare. In addition to hundreds of donated hours of labor by volunteers, we have received crucial funding support from City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office, the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center, and a Community-Research Kick Start grant from the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS).