Online Program

Precursors for sexual risk reduction in the transgender (Mahuwahine) community in Hawaii

Monday, November 4, 2013

Charlene Tomas, PhD, College of Education, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Research on insular transgendered communities is sparse. The complex intersections of sexuality, health, and social systems (schools, health organizations, and churches) contribute to the cyclical process between poor health and employment outcomes. With the Male to Female transgender, or mahuwahine community, discrimination and substance use may often leads to unsafe employment like sex work leading to outcomes like STDs, HIV/ AIDS. This project utilizes surveys to further the mahuwahine research by locating community members to understand their needs for education, health, and employment services. The Transgender Survey was co-constructed by a researcher and the mahuwahine community. The Survey was administered over the phone by a mahuwahine person, an insider, given cultural sensitivities with the community. There were 168 were mahuwahine participants with the majority who identified as Native Hawaiian. From the participants, 72% participated in sex work; 84% of these participants, however, currently relied on legal employment or their own businesses for employment. It is imperative to partner with mahuwahines and include their perspectives in the research design and process. This resulted in the high number of participation. Qualitative methods, however, (e.g. interviews) can provide deeper insight to better understand the mahuwahine community's life experiences on health outcomes (HIV/ AIDS, cancer, tobacco use), discrimination, employment, and education. This data serves as the foundation to mahuwahine community's existence in Hawaii to foster culturally sensitive education in the workplace, healthcare systems, schools, and religious institutions to decrease disparities in health.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify Male to Female transgendered people in Hawaii. Discuss the complexities of employment, and sex work with the marginalized transgender community. Discuss the challenges involved with data collection with the marginalized transgender community.

Keyword(s): Sex Workers, Hawaiian Natives

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator for previous sexual health research with minority populations, and have taught sexuality health education at the post-secondary level. My scientific interests have been focused on educational strategies for decreasing unintended health outcomes in underserved minority populations.
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.

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