A travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth, but both feel and express themselves more feminine, “femme” or transfeminine.
In some cultures, the “travesti” is even considered a third gender, however, not all “travesti” see themselves this way.
The “travesti” is generally connected to a sociopolitical identity in the cultures they are accepted in, however, the term was derogatory for a long time until activists claimed it back.
It defines all trans and non-binary who identify as woman yet was assigned male at birth.
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Origin of the term
The concept of “travesti” has existed for decades, and dates back to pre-slavery Africa, where a third gender was socially accepted.
During the colonization of the African continent, Westerners forced their view regarding two-genders only on the natives, and those who practiced “travesti” could even receive a death penalty.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the “transvetis” could finally re emerge as a social group.
Spread of the term
The gender identity is most prominent in South Africa, but has numerous members in Latin-American countries as well.
While originally being a derogatory term, it was Peruvian, Argentinian and Brazilian activists that fought to reclaim the expression, and by the early 2010’s, trans and gender identity movements allowed for “travesti” to finally become a socially recognized identity again.
- LGBT Project Wiki – Travesti