With a short production overview and introduction, providing attendees with some quick tips on funding and creating documentary/storytelling style video media, we will screen episode two of the series, “Everything’s Changing”. This episode has the cast talking about the exploration of their sexuality, sex with different sexual partners and gender expression throughout their transmasculine journey. After the screening, attendees will participate in a discussion featuring cast members and Callen-Lorde staff. The presenters and attendees will discuss (1) what a video series like this means for the community, (2) what’s it like to participate in a project like this, (3) how this project [and others like it] can be used as tools for creating more conversation and awareness about sexuality and HIV/STIs, (4) how projects like this can be a catalyst to increase testing and treatment of HIV/STIs, and (5) why it is important to generate more conversation on these topics amongst the transmasculine communities and those who provide services to them.
Although there are existing strategies and policies for increasing testing and conversations around HIV, STIs and sexual health for transgender women and cis-gender men who have sex with men, there is a dearth of resources and methods that focus on doing this within transmasculine communities. Platforms for transmasculine people to candidly explore sexuality, sexual health, and sex partners are limited and marketing rarely reflects the economic, racial, ethnic and age diversity of these communities, often equating limited resources to low HIV rates. In an age of video media and visual marketing it is essential that tools within these genres featuring transmasculine people are made so that no community is left out of the conversation around sexual health, and HIV/STI testing and treatment is available and promoted to everyone regardless of HIV seroconversion rates.
In 2016 Callen-Lorde’s Creative Media department worked with funding from the New Your City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) and key Callen-Lorde staff members working closely with our transmasculine patient population to develop and initiate production on the “Transmasculine & Healthy” video series. The series focuses on exploring and acts as a video documentary companion to all of the health topics for the transmasculine communities being addressed in the NYCDOHMH’s pocket guide, as well as additional topics identified by Callen-Lorde. Featuring a cast of 13 transgender men and transmasculine people across varying ages, identities, sexual orientations and ethnicities, the series creates a space where all of these voices collectively explore the topics in a casual and open environment, increasing the viewer’s knowledge and awareness of the many perspectives and experiences of the vast transmasculine communities.