Feds Spend $194,788 Taxpayer Dollars to Study Transgender Women’s Use of Facebook


Over the past couple of years I’ve shared a number of stories on how our federal government wastes taxpayer dollars. We’ve heard about the government spending our taxpayer dollars to study things like:

  • $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.
  • $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.
  • $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.
  • $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.
  • $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.
  • $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.
  • $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.
  • $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.
  • $384,949 to study duck penises.
  • $876,752 spent to study snail sex.
  • $585,000 for one stay in Paris hotel for Vice President Joe Biden.
  • And many many many Obama vacations which includes Michelle’s mom.

Now I’d like to add a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They are spending $194,788 to study how transgender women (is that an oxymoron?) use Facebook and that use affects their chances of getting HIV.

The grant was given to Friends Research Institute, based in Maryland. Supposedly, transphobia is driving them to use social media such as Facebook to hook up which the FRI believes increases their chances of getting HIV. The grant’s description reads:

“High-risk male-to-female transgender women (hereafter ‘transwomen’) face numerous concurrent cofactors for HIV acquisition and transmission including substance use, engagement in sex work, unemployment, low educational attainment, homelessness and hormone misuse. In Los Angeles County, estimates of HIV prevalence among transwomen are 15% overall, and 17% among Latinas, 29% among Native Americans, and 48% among African American/black transwomen. As a result of discrimination/stigma, prejudice, and individual and structural forms of transphobia, transwomen form dense communities comprised primarily of other transwomen. Transwomen use social network sites (SNS) and technology-based (‘tech’) networking platforms to develop social support structures, connect with members of their community, receive positive and re-affirming perspectives on their gender identity, and inform behavioral norms and gain access to transgender specific resources (e.g., illegal hormones, sex work partners). In response to PA-12-113, ‘Research on the Health of LGBTI Populations,’ and consistent with the priorities for behavioral and social sciences outlined in the HIV-Related Research Plan put forward by the Office of AIDS Research of the National Institutes of Health and the Trans-NIH plan for 2014, this proposed project seeks to conduct formative research to examine how the egocentric structure and composition of transwomens’ social networks and SNS/tech use affect their engagement in HIV risk/protective behaviors. During Phase 1, focus groups will be conducted to guide the development of culturally competent assessments (an iPad Social Network Interview [SNI] and ACASI), which will then undergo a feasibility pilot test. During Phase 2, a diverse sample of transwomen (N=300) will be recruited to complete the two-part assessment. The specific aims of this research are: 1) Develop and assess the feasibility and utility of culturally competent assessments to study the social networks, HIV risk/protective behaviors, and SNS/tech use of transwomen; 2) Determine how characteristics of transwomen’s social networks, as well as the behavior of other people (i.e., ‘alters’) in those networks, influence engagement in HIV risk/protective behaviors; and, 3) Determine how SNS/tech use with network alters influences participants’ engagement in HIV risk/protective behaviors. Statistical analyses will use hierarchically clustered models that nest participants within their reported social networks. The proposed research will specify the social network dynamics driving transwomen’s HIV risk/protective behaviors to inform the development a R34 application to test the efficacy of a culturally competent SNS/tech-based HIV intervention tailored specifically for transwomen.”

If you’re out of work, losing your home, not able to feed your family or pay for your ‘affordable healthcare’ and wondering why our economy is so bad, just look at the list of wasted money above and you’ll have your answer. You can also add the billions spent on foreign aid to countries that hate us, rebuilding mosques in Middle East countries, $200,000 a year for White House calligraphers just to print fancy invitations and $100,000 a year to walk Obama’s dogs.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we need to take the budget and spending out of the hands of Washington politicians and put it in the hands of proven and reliable conservative accountants and businessmen. Give them the instructions to slice out all of these unnecessary spending pet projects, foreign aid and unnecessary government departments and agencies. Not only should spending not exceed the revenue coming in without raising taxes, but it must be reduced to the point to allow payments to reduce the federal deficit. I’ve talked to accountants and businessmen in the past and they assured me that given the chance they could have the US debt free in 10 years with a manageable balanced budget. You’ll never see that happen out of professional politicians – Republicans, Democrats, Independents or non-partisans.

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