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PSA: Safer gay sex for trans men

April 10, 2013

I’m really impressed with this PSA. It’s about a trans man who hooks up with a cis (non-trans) man and is pressured into having unprotected sex: the cis dude hints that he wouldn’t be able to “keep it up” with a condom because he’s not used to trans bodies. Actually, the PSA title translates to “I won’t wear one for you”. (It’s in French, but you can choose English or French captioning.)

Thankfully, I’ve never been in this situation, but I really empathize with the main character’s decisions. The cis guy makes him feel inadequate because of his body –making it seem like he’s doing him a favor by sleeping with him– and the trans guy allows him to drop the condom as a way of “making it up” to him. It’s super tragic, really: the cis man makes the trans man feel lesser-than, undesirable and unworthy of respect. But it doesn’t seem uncommon; there’s actually a medical study about this same subject called “There’s No Pamphlet for the Kind of Sex I Have: HIV-Related Risk Factors and Protective Behaviors Among Transgender Men Who Have Sex with Non-Transgender Men”.

I’ve been watching this video over and over because it’s so rare to see my own issues represented in any kind of media. Like I’ve said, I’ve never been in this scenario, but I do constantly navigate cis/trans power dynamics and I really feel the need for more stories about gay or queer trans men which reflect these kind of problems. I’m fascinated by how strongly I relate to the main character in this PSA; also, I love how his body is celebrated in the surreal dream/dance scene.

If anyone knows about any media (videos, short stories, poems) about gay trans men, please share in the comments! I recommend the German movie Romeos, which is a love story between two men, one trans and one cis.

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