part of all this anonymous play for me is a commitment to getting tested regularly. i prefer to get tested for hiv and stds every three months, but definitely at least every 6 months.
so it had been six months since i last got tested. the last time i got tested i went in because i had this sore throat that would not go away, figured i had strep or something. my regular doctor was not available so i had to see someone else. He took one look at me and asked if i've been having unprotected sex. I assume what he saw is a young, non trans gay boy of color (in my experience doctors rarely read charts, I can't count the number of times i've had to tell a doctor or nurse that i do not have a dick - at least as they think about it), i said i always use condoms except for oral, which was true at the time. he asked if its with one person or multiple. i say multiple - my army guy, beautiful boy , hometown play - to name a few.
at which point he proceeded to test me AND treat me for every possible std, had me do a PCR HIV test which can tell if you've contracted HIV much sooner than the rapid tests, sent me to counseling for HIV testing, and told me he hoped that i keep using condoms so i don't turn up with HIV. I appreciate getting tested but didn't appreciate the stigma and profiling and i don't like to get treated for things i don't actually have...
anyways, turns out it was just a bad sore throat...
so in contrast, this time around i made an appointment for an HIV test and was scheduled to see an HIV counselor. I was really stressed out and nervous about it. I've been playing alot and usually play safe but i had on a few occasions recently been fucking raw (transfag barebacking). mostly with guys who say that they are negative and whom i've known for a while, but many people who have hiv don't know it and condoms are not 100% and there is some risk with unprotected oral also... so generally being an anxious person, i was stressed out and worried for a while before my appointment and for a while after.
so i'm talking to the hiv counselor, she's fine, asks me how i identify as far as gender and sexuality, then she asks me the usual straight forward questions i.e. what type of sex, do you know the person's status, etc. all fine.
she does tell me that i shouldn't worry though, that its pretty unlikely that i will test positive, she actually says this repeatedly, which i though was an interesting thing for her to do.
she sends me for a PCR test. as i'm walking to the lab i look down at the form. there are a number of risk categories. IV drug user, sex with someone positive, etc. the first risk category is men who have sex with men. She checked "no".
so i think what the fuck. i told you i'm a trans guy who's there cuz i let a non trans guy fuck me without a condom. the only difference between me and a non trans gay guy is the hole i let this particular guy put his dick.
if i give her the benefit of the doubt i would say maybe it has something to do with the state and that my gender in the system is female and that i am sure state funding pays for the test - however this does not make it any better.
if i don't give the counselor the benefit of the doubt then i can assume that her understanding of trans communities is low and that when she asked me who i have sex with and i answered primarily men she took that to mean in some convoluded way that i am a straight woman (though non trans women of color who have sex with non trans men have the highest growing rates of hiv).
when i am read by doctors and nurses as a non trans, young, gay boy of color, not always, but most often i feel stigmatized, lectured, judged, condescended. i'm not sure how to describe it fully but there is this hyper extremeness to the interaction, like they are sure i have an std, that i'm unsafe and irresponsible and they need to test and treat me as soon as possible. this is very much about my perceived age, gender, sexuality and race. the racism is very thick in these interactions with white health care providers. people of color are seen as unclean, infected, unintelligent.
i admit that i've made mistakes and there are times i've taken risks that i wish i had not however being judged and treated like an irresponsible walking risk do not help me to make better decisions.
on the flipside when it is known that i am trans on the female to male spectrum i am seen as extremely low risk. to the point where they won't test me, i am continually told that i am low risk and don't need to worry about it, and i have to insist on testing. these encounters are very much about misconceptions of my gender and sexuality but also very much about racism and sexism. women of color are seen as hypersensitive, emotional, less intelligent. its hard enough to go into get tested, knowing i may need to fight for it does not make it any easier. and to be honest sometimes i give into my self doubt and internalized oppressions and i don't fight.
non trans gay men of color, particularly young gay men of color, still have the highest rates of HIV. all us trans fags and genderqueers of color playing with all the same cocks and asses as other gays boys with all the same pressures and 'risk factors' plus a few more, yet we are not 'at risk'
the implications of this worry and depress me
this also got me thinking about the complicated, messiness of sex and the choices i make every day as a sexual being that put me at risk and if its worth all the profiling, stress, risk and anxiety.
playing for me is empowering - its empowering as a queer trans person to navigate sex with non trans guys, to be able to get what I want out of a fuck, to have people desire me, to know that my body is hot, and to feel sexy and confident in my body. And of course i just like sex.
all of which is clearly good for my well being maybe equally as much as the risk is harmful
so i continue to play and to be as safe as i can and to sometimes make mistakes and to own them as my own and to get tested and be anxious and just live with all the messy complicatedness of anonymous sex and fucking as a queer trans guy of color