I hadn’t planned on covering this topic today, but as I was drinking my morning coffee, I came across two stories that baffled and enraged me. And I don’t like being baffled and enraged first thing in the morning. Especially on a Friday when I feel in harmony with the rest of the world, and my coffee was especially on point. Note: I am a huge fan of Black Rifle Coffee, free plug for the veteran-owned, veteran-hiring company.
The government is spending over $750,000 of other peoples’ money (OPM) to study transgenders.
Yep. The government is spending money to study transgenderism in Nepal. You read that correctly. Apparently, the transgender community in Nepal is not well-understood in the context of Nepalese culture, and therefore worthy of spending OPM to send someone to Kathmandu.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to spend $140,000 on combating the “"intersectional stigma" of transwomen in Nepal. You see, despite Nepal being one of the 11 countries that will actually issue passports with a third gender, our government MUST spend money on combating the stigma of being a biological male who believes he is female, and chooses to express himself in that way.
The $140K grand was awarded to the Public Health Foundation Enterprises, a nonprofit based in California, said their taxpayer-funded project is necessary because no one has ever investigated trans stigma in Nepal before, and it is "past time" to do so.
"There is no HIV prevention intervention for transwomen (TW) with evidence of efficacy outside the US. The largest burden of HIV among TW rests on those outside the US where intersectional stigma is a driver of HIV," the grant states. "No research in South Asia has examined the impact of intersectional stigma on HIV risk and care among TW."
Trans and HIV transmission. Hmmm. Where have I heard that before??
Well, it comes from another NIH grant, this time to the University of Michigan. The Wolverines will spend $614,000 of OPM to “Boost intimacy and trust of transgender women and their male partners”.
Oh, that’s interesting. Is this a study to see if cis-men are able to connect with other men who express themselves as women? Not really. It’s a "couples-based approach" for HIV prevention by talking about "intimacy and trust" and using condoms.
"Transgender (‘trans') women (i.e., individuals with a feminine and/or female gender identity who were assigned male at birth) are among the populations at highest risk for HIV in the United States and worldwide," according to the grant for the project. "One of the most consistently reported contexts for HIV transmission among trans women is within a primary partnership with a non-transgender male."
The researchers say there has been a lack of scientific attention given to the male partners of transwomen.
So, this sounds like a project straight from the 80s where gay couples were counseled on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. In those 1980s projects, it was discovered that one or both members of the couple would be rather indiscriminate in his affections. The idea of encouraging condom use in order to not bring HIV home was probably needed.
However, this new study raises an interesting question for me: Is the hypothesis of this study the idea the members of a cis-trans partnership believe that becoming a trans person (pre- or post-surgery) protects one from the transmission of HIV?
Because using condoms to prevent the spread of HIV is NOT a new notion. Both the gay community and the heterosexual community have long gotten that message. So, why are we spending OPM on this topic? One would have to assume that before a person was trans, he/she was either heterosexual or gay. And wouldn’t they have heard about condom use?
No, I just think these two projects are the result of recycling ideas in order to get more of OPM. Grant writing is now a specialty in many academic and non-profit settings. The ability to describe a project and hypothesis in order to secure funding is probably valued more than the actual academic knowledge gained or output provided. Groups like the University of Michigan and the Public Health Foundation have long been feasting at the government trough; and they just want to keep the gravy train rolling.
But spending public money to encourage condom use to prevent the spread of HIV? Come on, everybody knows that even 5 year olds are taught how to use a condom in California. Go study something else—like Bigfoot porn.
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