Today’s guest post is from “Erin” who is a graduating student of Women’s and Gender Studies at a local university. She specializes in sexuality as it relates to gender and her main focus is reproductive rights history.
Here at Planned Parenthood we are concerned with the health of men and women. But say you do not identify as either one of the binary genders, or you do not identify with the gender assigned to you at birth. If that is the case, you may identify as Trans*.
Trans* is a general word for someone not living as the gender that was assigned to them at birth. This could include transgender or transsexual individuals. For the purpose of being all on the same page, I will define trans man as a female-to-male transgender person, and a trans woman as a male-to-female transgender person. It can be easy to get confused, especially if you are not familiar with people of non-gender conforming persuasions. The best thing you can do is respect how each person identifies.
As far as sexual health is concerned, trans men need to remember to get pap smears too. For whatever gender you identify as, if you have a cervix you can be at risk for cervical cancer and need to get screened. Check out this article from earlier this year that details “four ways we can prevent cervical cancer among trans men and genderqueer/gender nonconforming people.” Some barriers for trans men include: health insurance coverage that denies routine preventative care, like pap smear screenings, to trans folks; health care providers being culturally insensitive to the trans community, or just plain discriminating; and maybe not being aware of how to properly take care of cervical health.
For optimal cervical health:
• Go annually for routine pap smears after the age of 21 or 3 years after being sexually active (this goes even if you have been vaccinated for HPV). More about pap smears here.
• Use protection! Wear condoms, female condoms, gloves, and/or dental dams to help protect against STI’s that may cause cervical cancer. More about safer sex here.
As a reproductive rights scholar, I have taken a special interest in Trans* rights. This is for many reasons, but above all, when we talk about what people can and cannot do with their genitals, I believe this is encompassed within reproductive rights. The article Trans Rights Are Reproductive Rights is fantastic.
Another very cool resource for trans health is the Trans Youth Sexual Health Booklet. This is a fairly detailed pamphlet made by and for trans youth about sexuality and sexual health.