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Other titles in the Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, & Culture series:

Travesti : Sex, Gender, and Culture Among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (98 Edition)


Travesti : Sex, Gender, and Culture Among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (98 Edition) Cover

ISBN13: 9780226461007
ISBN10: 0226461009
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this dramatic and compelling narrative, anthropologist Don Kulick follows the lives of a group of transgendered prostitutes (called travestis in Portuguese) in the Brazilian city Salvador. Travestis are males who, often beginning at ages as young as ten, adopt female names, clothing styles, hairstyles, and linguistic pronouns. More dramatically, they ingest massive doses of female hormones and inject up to twenty liters of industrial silicone into their bodies to create breasts, wide hips, and large thighs and buttocks. Despite such irreversible physiological changes, virtually no travesti identifies herself as a woman. Moreover, travestis regard any male who does so as mentally disturbed.

Kulick analyzes the various ways travestis modify their bodies, explores the motivations that lead them to choose this particular gendered identity, and examines the complex relationships that they maintain with one another, their boyfriends, and their families. Kulick also looks at how travestis earn their living through prostitution and discusses the reasons prostitution, for most travestis, is a positive and affirmative experience.

Arguing that transgenderism never occurs in a "natural" or arbitrary form, Kulick shows how it is created in specific social contexts and assumes specific social forms. Furthermore, Kulick suggests that travestisand#8212;far from deviating from normative gendered expectationsand#8212;may in fact distill and perfect the messages that give meaning to gender throughout Brazilian society and possibly throughout much of Latin America.

Through Kulick's engaging voice and sharp analysis, this elegantly rendered account is not only a landmark study in its discipline but also a fascinating read for anyone interested in sexuality and gender.

Table of Contents


Note on the Transcriptions


1: The Context of Travesti Life

2: Becoming a Travesti

3: A Man in the House

4: The Pleasure of Prostitution

5: Travesti Gendered Subjectivity




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NicholasK, March 18, 2015 (view all comments by NicholasK)
I had to read this book for a Culture&Ethnography class, and I learned a lot about the world of travestis, or transgender people in Brazil. I love delving into the worlds of sex and gender, and the ways in which the travestis of Brazil access their agency, and see themselves in the greater sphere of society is very interesting. Anyone who loves culture, sexuality&gender, would find this ethnography extremely interesting.
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Product Details

Kulick, Don
University of Chicago Press
Chicago :
Popular Culture
Human Sexuality
Gender Studies
Transvestism -- Case studies.
Popular Culture - General
Transvestites -- Brazil -- Salvador.
Male prostitutes -- Brazil -- Salvador.
Psychology : General
Edition Description:
Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
20 halftones
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Sex Industry
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Transgender
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Golf » General

Travesti : Sex, Gender, and Culture Among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (98 Edition) New Trade Paper
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Product details 277 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226461007 Reviews:
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