Understanding sexual citizenship for Asian MSM in Aotearoa

Literature to inform social work practice of sexual justice


  • Spar Wong University of Auckland
  • Laura Ann Chubb University of Auckland




Asian MSM, Sexual health, Sexual citizenship, sexual justice, social work


Introduction: As members of a profession that promotes social justice and human rights, social workers are well positioned to engage in sexual health practices, such as providing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services, a significant aspect in the development of sexual citizenship—or supporting the rights and responsibilities of people in their sexual lives. Comprising part of the second largest ethnic minority group, Asian men who have sex with men (MSM) are the most HIV-affected ethnic minority group in Aotearoa New Zealand. However, social work practices with this cohort are non-specific. This article presents the concept of sexual citizenship as a lens through which to better understand the sexual health needs of Asian MSM in Aotearoa and how social workers or other health professionals might be supportive.

Approach: A narrative literature review of eight articles concerning Asian MSM’s sexual health in Aotearoa was undertaken. Three themes were identified from this review: 1) sexual stigma, discrimination and prejudice; 2) sexual health and layered identities, and 3) knowledge of safer sex practises.

Conclusions: As the fastest growing ethnic minority group in Aotearoa, more actions and resources are required to meet Asian, particularly Asian MSM’s, sexual health needs. The social work profession can play a critical role by advocating for sexual citizenship, providing supportive sexual health resources, and addressing sexual stigma and health disparities among Asian MSM.

Author Biographies

Spar Wong, University of Auckland

BSW from the University of Auckland. Spar is currently completing a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Policy at the University of Auckland.

Laura Ann Chubb, University of Auckland

School of Counselling, Human Services, and Social Work Lecturer


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How to Cite

Wong, S., & Chubb, L. A. (2023). Understanding sexual citizenship for Asian MSM in Aotearoa: Literature to inform social work practice of sexual justice. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 35(1), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol35iss1id1017



Original Articles