Accepted Paper:

Deconolizing trans: travesti identity as cultural resistance  


Bruno Barbosa (Universidade Estadual de Campinas)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to discuss the global circulation of medical discourses about trans people and the Brazilian singularities. I explore the connection between anthropologists and activists in the construction of a cultural notion of travesti as a way to decolonize trans global e colonial discourses.

Paper long abstract:

My work is at the interface of the anthropology of science and gender and sexuality studies. In my post-doc research, I investigate the production of knowledge around "trans people" through the controversies surrounding the right to body- and sex-transforming medical procedures. I am especially interested in the transnational circulations of categories and how these categories take on different meanings in different global contexts. One of my main research concerns is the use of international conventions from International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in Brazilian national public policy that governs body and sex transforming medical procedures in the public health system. There are several controversies and critiques in Brazilian academic literature and social movements regarding pathologization as a guarantee of rights to body tranforming medical procedures. These critiques point out the particularity of the term popularly known as travesti, emphasizing the exclusionary, ethnocentric and colonial approach in using medical-psychiatric notions, primarily constructed in the USA context. Anthropology had a particular interest in travestis. Many ethnographies have been produced since de 1990's arguing that Brazilians travestis would have an exteriority in relation to the European and American medical definitions, representing, in some cases, a Brazilian form of understanding gender and sexuality, especially when contrasted with the transsexual category and gender identity disorder. In this presentation, I explore the connection between anthropology knowledge and activists in the construction of a Brazilian cultural notion of travesti as a way to decolonize trans global e colonial discourses.

Panel P036
Queer and feminist ethnography on the move [Roundtable, European Network of Queer Anthropology (ENQA) and Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality (NAGS)]