Minority stress, cervical cancer screening behaviors, and gender-affirming health care among transmasculine individuals Open Access
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Despite the growing body of research on the health of transgender individuals, there is still a paucity of literature on the gynecological health care needs of transmasculine individuals. Specifically, no studies have examined whether the Minority Stress Model can help explain cervical cancer screening behaviors among this population. Thirty-two qualitative interviews were conducted with transmasculine individuals (age range = 21-56; 78% White) as part of a larger study examining barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer screening among transmen. Using thematic analysis, results demonstrate that participants experienced various distal stressors, including gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination within health care settings relevant to cervical cancer screening and in general. Participants used several coping and social support resources, including calming and relaxation techniques, individual avoidance of cervical cancer screening, and group-level coping mechanisms and support. Participants also discussed proximal stressors, including experiences of rejection and concealment, as well as health issues that affected their cervical cancer screening behaviors such as anxiety and physical abuse. Transmasculine people of color described their concerns related to provider competence around the intersection of transgender and racial/ethnic minority health issues, whereas several White transmasculine individuals discussed their perceptions of privilege when seeking gender-affirming health care. Higher socioeconomic status also often provided privileges when seeking health care. Analyses demonstrated the need for additional training for health care providers to address competency concerns around cervical cancer screening for transmasculine individuals, as well as changes in policies related to insurance coverage for gynecological services for this population.