Public health research among transgender populations globally a mainly focused on HIV/AIDS. However, trans men remain outside of this conceptual framework, with distinct but overlapping social contexts and needs. In Puerto Rico (PR), the population of trans men has remained hidden within the ‘butch’ lesbian community.

The purpose of this study is to document the identity construction of trans men and ‘buchas,’ a local to PR term to refer to butch lesbians, and its relations to their bodily practices and overall health. This study was an exploratory qualitative study of 29 trans men and buchas based on ethnographic observation, focus groups, audio-recorded in-depth interviews, and critical discourse analysis. The findings emphasize two domains to be addressed by health policies and initiatives: (1) bodily representations and gender performance, and (2) the meanings of female biological processes. This small-scale ethnographic study represents an initial step toward understanding the social context of this ‘invisible’ community and significant implications for their health and well-being.

This study also proposes several recommendations to address public health concerns of this understudied, marginalized community.

Keywords: Transgender/transsexual men; bucha; Puerto Rico; social stigma; transgender health.

Location: Available online, here (abstract free, purchase full study)


(Transgender AND Health Communications) Ramos-Pibernus, Alíxida G, Rodríguez-Madera, Sheilla L, Padilla, Mark, Varas-Díaz, Nelson, and Vargas Molina, Ricardo. “Intersections and Evolution of ‘Butch-trans’ Categories in Puerto Rico: Needs and Barriers of an Invisible Population.” Global Public Health: The Trouble with ‘Categories’: Rethinking Men Who Have Sex with Men, Transgender and Their Equivalents in HIV Prevention and Health Promotion 11.7-8 (2016): 966-80. Web.


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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