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Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes Introduction Gender is something that is complex and ambiguous, and cannot be set into a strict binary structure. Through Don Kulick’s ethnographic research, he spent time studying transgendered prostitutes called Travestis in Brazil. After reading Kulick’s book about the Travestis and their lifestyles I would like to argue that “gender” is an incredibly personal identity that is constructed by ones environment, and is heavily influenced by the binary categories of “male” and “female” and heteronormativity. Even within non-normative spheres, these binary divisions appear, which segregate groups of individuals depending on where they fall within the…show more content…
Civil police would only hold Travestis in jail for up to three days. If they (Travestis) were picked up by the military police, and especially if they were picked up by the paddy wagon of the Combat Battalion-Travestis were routinely tortured. There were packed into the truck and repeatedly kicked and punched by the six to eight policemen who rode with them, not to jail but to the Praia do Flamenco, an all but deserted beach about a forty-five-minute drive outside of Salvador (Kulick, 31). I believe these brutal attacks and punishments are not simply because of the associations Travestis have with stigmatized associations, but instead because of their rejection of masculinity. As noted in the text, the police and “policemen” showing that this position is a male dominated area. I believe this could be related to homophobia in a sense. This can be seen on a small scale in some high schools in the United States. As C.J. Pascoe noted in her study about the term “fag” in her article Dude, You’re a Fag, she found similar findings. One interviewee responded about why they used the term fag and said, “ Being gay is just a lifestyle, gay men could be men if they tired but if they failed at it (i.e., if they could throw a football) then they deserved to be called a fag.” Fag was, by definition, the opposite of masculine (Pascoe, 58). This shows that regardless of whether or not the individual has sexual relations with someone of the same sex, it only

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