Online Program

Missing female sexual partners of males having sex with males (MSM) and transgendered people (TGP) in research and intervention: A gender power politics

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Sharful Islam Khan, MBBS, MA, PhD, Center for HIV and AIDS, icddr,b, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Introduction: Research and interventions in most South Asian countries have predominantly addressed HIV vulnerabilities of MSM and TGP without restoring their female sexual partners into the comprehensive framework of HIV prevention.

Methods: The abstract is based on qualitative data of two studies on MSM and TGP where findings are analyzed by content and contextual approaches, revealing reasons for silence in addressing female relations of MSM and TGP. Program experiences with MSM and TGP have also complemented to understand the complexities.

Results: Most MSM and many TGP, under the banner of hetero-normative and obligatory patriarchal pressure, marry women and live a multiple gendered and masculine life by hiding their sexual preferences and partnerships which are not monolithic. Despite knowing these facts and vulnerabilities, female partners of MSM and TGP are out of services ranging from social, legal, medical and public health. This is mainly because of perceived “fear and complexities” to address female partners to protect “family peace and bondage.” However, not serving all partners causes a scientific leakage in HIV intervention. Researchers and program managers understand and acknowledge this vulnerability, but remain inapt in actions due to “theoretical barriers” in questioning authoritative male sexualities which undermine female sexual rights, well-being and equality in relationships.

Discussion: Silently accepting sufferings and exploitations of women for cultural sensitivity and preserving family life of female partners of MSM and TGP rather re-instigate deeply rooted male supremacy and sexual power politics. Immediate actions are required to protect vulnerabilities of female partners of MSM and TGP.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe patterns of females sexual relationships of males having sex with males MSM)and transgendered people (TGP) and discuss reasons for not addressing female sexual partners in HIV and AIDS interventions. Thus, this study can assess barriers to design HIV prevention services for female partners of MSM and TGP in Bangladesh and elsewhere with similar cultural context.

Keyword(s): Bisexual, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a researcher focusing on anthropological and sociological aspects of human sexuality, sexual behaviors, gender and masculinity and working with key-populations at risk of HIV in Bangladesh and regional countries since 1995. I work now as a Scientist at icddr,b which is an internationally reputed organizations primarily dealing with research with human subjects. I have been working with MSM and transgender people since 1997 in Bangladesh.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.