Publication Date

1996

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Abstract

In this paper, I will focus on male transvestites in Lima, Peru, in an effort to establish whether or not they create their own culture. The purpose of this work is to offer insights to people who want to work with transvestites.

As with most marginalized groups, transvestites in Lima form part of a silent majority that is like a satellite which supports, but is unseen and unwanted by, the minority.

The major conclusion I drew from my research is that there is not one unique transvestite culture but several different transvestite cultures that crisscross each other and which cannot be separated from the larger cultural dynamics of the areas in which the transvestites themselves live. While transvestites share many of the cultural traits of their neighbors in areas such as El Augustino and Valdivieso where they live, there are also many other factors at work that set them apart from the larger collective.

Transvestite culture is not homogeneous; it is made up of cultural zones that are in a state of constant flux, as defined by Renato Rosaldo in his work Culture & Truth (1989).

My conclusion was drawn from months of field research as described by Lawrence W. Neuman (1994). The research involved numerous interviews with transvestites from different socio-economic levels, as well as with academics and activists working in the fields of gender and AIDS prevention.

The research and information gathered for this paper are by no means definitive. I consider this work to be a first step in understanding a segment of the Peruvian population that has not only been marginalized by society but also within literature on gender roles, rights abuses, the family, poverty and social exclusion.

Disciplines

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Sociology of Culture

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