The Peer Advocacy network for the Sexual Health of Trans Masculinities (PASH.tm) and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) have launched GRUNT, a new HIV prevention and sexual health campaign aimed at transgender men who have sex with cisgender men.
There’s an 18+ warning on the page, and it’s not hard to see why.
Campaign designers are hoping that explicit and open depictions of trans sexuality will get their tailored sexual health messaging to the target demographic.
“This campaign is so important because trans men [who are] into men can’t often see ourselves reflected in sexual health campaigns that target gay men and don't meaningfully and explicitly include trans men, even though we are part of this community,” said Teddy Cook, one of the architects of the campaign.
Gay trans men may have only transitioned later in life and therefore not been exposed to the same sexual health messages as gay men, Cook told SBS.
“We hope to educate our community while unapologetically celebrating who we are and the guys we hook up with,” he said.
As well as information on condoms, STI testing, PEP and PrEP, the site also has information on disclosing trans status, dealing with rejection and dealing with gender dysphoria.
“Some guys experience it, some guys don’t, but it can be such a downer to be getting hot and heavy with the cis guy of your dreams and suddenly your brain screams, nope!” the site says.
“What makes you a man is inside you, not what your body looks like,” it says. “Bottoming in any of your holes does not make you less of a man, in fact some of the most macho cis guys are total bottoms.”
Disclosure can also be a tricky issue to navigate for trans men.
“Some guys include a brief description about being trans and/or their HIV status on app profiles,” the site says.
“If you’re fisting or blowing someone, it may not be a thing worth mentioning,” the site says. “Don’t assume that he won’t be ok with it. But also expect that some cis men won’t be into what you got. Don’t let other people determine your self-worth or your boundaries.”
“When someone says no, that’s ok too so don’t push it. Consent means respecting either party not being up for it,” the site says.
“Some cis guys aren’t that great around language and context. It’s definitely not your job to educate but it might be hot and helpful to link your potential partners to this website. Even having a link on your online profile might help you avoid awkward questions,” it says.