Specific to South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean, travesti is a gender identity and sociopolitical identifier for those assigned male at birth who identify with feminine gender identities and perform feminine gender roles. Travestis differ from drag performers and crossdressers in that they medically feminize their bodies, as well as adopt feminine names and she/her pronouns. Travestis are also considered distinct from trans women, although differences have been debated, resulting in the homogenization of travesti experiences. As of the mid-2010s, South American trans social movements acknowledge travesti as a gender identity and political marker. This entry addresses the history of travesti identities, highlighting pivotal moments that shape understandings of travesti experiences.

Derived from transvertir, meaning “to transform,” travesti challenges the overtly gendered and binary nature ...

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