Our Health Matters is a community-based health research study with trans men and transmasculine people in India. To guide our study, in 2019 we held community consultations with transmasculine people in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru about health and human rights.
Why this study? What did we do?
We know that trans men and transmasculine people face health challenges and barriers to health care, but there has been little research on transmasculine health in India. Research data are important for bringing attention to issues faced by communities to support advocacy, services, and funding. To fill this gap, a group of trans activists and researchers (both trans and cisgender) from India, Canada, and the Unites States began to work together in 2017 to develop community-based research on transmasculine health in India. As a first step, we applied for a small research planning grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which we used to hold consultations with trans men and transmasculine people in three cities.
The consultations were organized and co-facilitated by community leaders from TWEET Foundation, Sampoorna Working Group, and Aneka Trust. Consultation participants were asked for their perspectives on the most pressing health and human rights issues facing trans men and transmasculine people, and to identify their priorities for future research. Each group discussion lasted 2-3 hours and participants were provided refreshments and an honorarium. Participants did not need to provide their names or any other information that could personally identify them. The consultations were reviewed and approved by research ethics boards at the Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP) in Chennai and Unity Health Toronto in Toronto, Canada.
Who did we speak to?
Consultations were held from April to October 2019. There were 11 participants in Delhi, 12 in Mumbai, and 8 in Bangalore. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 46 (average=29) and self-identified as trans men (55%), male (42%), genderqueer (3%) and/or trans masculine (3%). Educational backgrounds ranged from lower primary to postgraduate education but more than half of participants (66%) had completed university education.
What did they tell us?
Education, Employment, and Public Spaces
Legal Gender Affirmations and Protections
Family and Social Acceptance
Priorities and Approaches for Transmasculine Health Research
Our Health Matters: Indian Trans Men and Transmasculine Health Study is a community-based research study focused on mental health and access to health care. The study was initiated in partnership with TWEET Foundation and Sampoorna Working Group, with preparatory work conducted between 2018 and 2021. The study topics and methods are based on what we learned from these community consultations held in 2019. In 2021, Sampoorna Working Group took the decision to withdraw from the project. Transmen Collective joined the study partnership in 2021.
Our Health Matters has two phases. First, from June to August 2021, we conducted qualitative interviews in Hindi, Marathi, and English. Next, we will launch a multilingual survey in early 2022 to gather information from a larger number of trans men and transmasculine people. Click here for more information on participating.