Common male gender norms (the social do’s and don’ts of masculinity) play a big part in our experiences of homophobia and heterosexism in daily life.  These norms create rigid boundaries for many of us about how we ‘should’ be acting.  If we are thought to stray from these ideas, then our manhood is in question.  Although our own ideas of manhood and masculinity generate many a sexual fantasy it can also create conflict about how to act, which again creates stress, fear and anxiety.  These gender norms also influence our health system, practices and policies.  Many health issues are a result of gender-based social status.

Trans men (who have sex with other men) – can experience harassment and bullying based on (perceived) sexual orientation, as well as transphobic bullying when/if trans status is known.  These can result in social exclusion, stigma, discrimination, drug use and longer term mental health concerns – all of these, again, make us vulnerable to HIV transmission.  Trans guys also face institutional barriers accessing health care services.  Many services and organizations lack processes and policies that affirm and honour trans experience – as a result those of us who are trans guys might  avoid services and/or getting help when we need it most. 

For more information on the health impacts and HIV vulnerability for trans men, visit the Trans Pulse research project that comes from within Ontario at:

For more information on trans guys’ sexual health visit:


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