Trans Boys’ Sex Education Gets a $700,000 Lift from Biden

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In a significant move towards promoting comprehensive sexual health education, the Biden administration has earmarked a substantial grant of $698,736 for a groundbreaking initiative aimed at supporting trans boys. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently gave the green light to allocate funds to California’s Center for Innovative Public Health Research, known for its work on the Girl2Girl text message-based sexual health program.

The focus of this grant is to update and expand the existing Girl2Girl program, ensuring it becomes more inclusive for trans boys and non-binary youth assigned female at birth (AFAB). The center recognizes the need to address the unique challenges faced by gender-diverse youth, who often feel excluded from conventional sexual health programs that predominantly cater to cisgender, heteronormative perspectives.

The grant summary emphasizes the elevated risk of negative sexual health outcomes for AFAB trans-identified youth and highlights the current lack of tailored sexual education messaging for this demographic. The center aims to bridge this gap through the creation of #TranscendentHealth, a program designed to tackle systemic inequities experienced by AFAB trans youth, such as social stressors, discrimination, dysphoria, and rejection.

To gather relevant data for this program, the center plans to conduct focus groups, delving into the sex lives of trans boys and non-binary teens. Topics of exploration include birth control strategies, condom usage, PrEP use, and HIV testing rates. The project, named #TranscendentHealth, commenced in September 2023 and is scheduled to run until June 30, 2027.

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This initiative builds on the administration’s commitment to LGBTQ+ rights and well-being. Last September, the National Institute of Health approved a $200,000 grant for an online mentorship program connecting LGBTQ+ youth with adults, fostering social-emotional skill acquisition. Additionally, in August 2022, the HHS granted over $1 million to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to study thrombosis risk in trans youth undergoing gender-affirming hormone therapy.

However, it’s important to note that the Biden administration has faced criticism for certain trans-related policies. Last April, LGBTQ+ advocates expressed concerns over a proposed rule change to Title XI, allowing schools to potentially restrict trans athletes’ participation in the name of “fairness in competition.” This move sparked a debate on finding a balance between inclusivity and fair play.

Despite such critiques, the administration’s ongoing efforts to support trans youth through research initiatives and targeted programs underscore a commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights. The allocation of resources towards trans-inclusive sexual health education reflects a proactive approach to address existing health inequities and promote a more inclusive and informed society.

As the Biden administration navigates the complexities of LGBTQ+ issues, including facing challenges and criticism, its continued investment in research and education demonstrates a commitment to fostering a more equitable and understanding environment for all individuals, irrespective of their gender identity.

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