This week, HRC and Whitman-Walker Health, a DC-area health care nonprofit with a special expertise in LGBTQ and HIV-related care, released Safer Sex for Trans Bodies, a new resource for transgender and gender expansive people, as well as their partners, on sexual health.

Yesterday I sat down over Facebook Live with HRC’s Noel Gordon, Whitman-Walker Health’s Managing Director of Behavioral Health Stacey Karpen, and trans advocate and educator Angel Smith to discuss our new guide and the important, but too often ignored topic of transgender sexual health.

Sexual health remains an integral part of overall health, including for transgender and gender expansive people.  Despite that reality, resources regarding transgender sexual health remain sparse and significant barriers to care continue to exist for many in the community. Safer Sex for Trans Bodies and yesterday’s conversation with Noel, Stacey, and Angel hopefully provide trans people and their partners, along with health care providers and the general public, the information and guidance necessary to ensure that transgender people can be safe and respected in every setting.  

Our discussion touched on a wide range of experiences, challenges, and barriers, ranging from the stigmatization of our partners to disrespectful treatment by those tasked with our care. We also discussed the larger structural barriers to overall health for transgender people; many remain uninsured and others face categorical exclusions that ban them from receiving medically necessary care to transition.

Every person can have a role in changing these realities, but it begins by educating ourselves. We must acknowledge that transgender people are whole human beings. For too long, conversations around sexual health for transgender and gender expansive people have been stigmatized or ignored.  It’s time we finally have an open and clear dialogue about what inclusive and affirming sexual health looks like for people of all gender identities and backgrounds.  

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