Volume 52, Issue 1
Pages 7 - 14

Contraceptive Beliefs, Decision Making and Care Experiences Among Transmasculine Young Adults: A Qualitative Analysis

CONTEXT

Transmasculine people—that is, individuals who were assigned female at birth and have a male or masculine gender identity—can experience unintended pregnancy. Yet research on contraception among transmasculine individuals is extremely limited.

METHODS

Participants were recruited online; from community‐based organizations, health centers and student groups; and by chain referral. From purposive sampling, 21 transmasculine individuals aged 18–29 who resided in the greater Boston area and had had, in the last five years, a sexual partner who was assigned male at birth were selected for in‐depth interviews. All interviews were conducted in person between February and May 2018 in Boston, and transcripts were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach involving inductive and deductive coding to identify themes and subthemes.

RESULTS

Most participants believed that contraceptive use was necessary to effectively prevent pregnancy among transmasculine individuals. Their beliefs and decisions regarding contraception occurred in the context of a lack of information about contraception among transmasculine people, especially those using testosterone. Many individuals chose a contraceptive method on the basis of whether it mitigated their gender dysphoria or stopped menstruation, and said they preferred condoms and implants because these methods provided fewer reminders of their natal anatomy and were not perceived as interfering with testosterone use. Gender bias, discrimination and stigma in patient‐provider interactions and health care settings negatively influenced participants’ contraceptive care experiences.

CONCLUSIONS

Health care providers and facilities should provide transmasculine people with tailored contraceptive information and care that address their specific gender‐affirmation needs and contraceptive preferences in safe, inclusive and supportive clinical settings.

Authors' Affiliations

Madina Agénor is Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture and Society, Department of Community Health, Tufts University, Medford, MA. Alischer A. Cottrill is research coordinator, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Boston. At the time of the study, Eriko Kay was research coordinator, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston. Elizabeth F. Janiak is assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. Allegra R. Gordon is assistant professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston. Jennifer Potter is professor, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Disclaimer
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health