Sexual Behaviors Associated with HIV Transmission Among Transgender and Gender Diverse Young Adults: The Intersectional Role of Racism and Transphobia.
Year of Publication
HIV prevalence and engagement in sexual behaviors associated with HIV transmission are high among transgender people of color. Per intersectionality, this disproportionate burden may be related to both interpersonal and structural racism and transphobia. The goal of this study was to estimate the association between interpersonal and structural discrimination and sexual behaviors among transgender and gender diverse (TGD) U.S. young adults. We used logit models with robust standard errors to estimate the individual and combined association between interpersonal and structural racism and transphobia and sexual behaviors in a national online sample of TGD young adults of color (TYAOC) aged 18-30 years (N = 228). Racism was measured at the interpersonal and structural level using the Everyday Discrimination Scale and State Racism Index, respectively. Transphobia was measured at the interpersonal and structural level using the Gender Minority Stress Scale and the Gender Identity Tally, respectively. We found that interpersonal racism was associated with transactional sex, and interpersonal transphobia was associated with alcohol/drug consumption prior to sex and transactional sex among TYAOC. We also found evidence of a strong joint association of interpersonal and structural racism and transphobia with alcohol/drug consumption prior to sex (OR 3.85, 95% CI 2.12, 7.01) and transactional sex (OR 3.54, 95% CI 0.99, 12.59) among TYAOC. Racism and transphobia have a compounding impact on sexual behaviors among TYAOC. Targeted interventions that reduce discrimination at both the interpersonal and structural level may help reduce the HIV burden in this marginalized population.