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Nonfiction Social Sciences

From One ‘Battle’ to Another: The Making of a Travesti Political Movement in a Brazilian City

By Charles H. Klein, 1998

This article examines the emergence of a travesti political movement out of a work group of transgendered sex professionals run by the Grupo de Apoio à Provenção da AIDS/Rio Grande do Sul (Support Group for AIDS Prevention, or GAPA/RS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The author first discusses the history of GAPA/RS’ involvement with sex workers and the ways in which violence structures the lives of many travestis. He then documents the killing of Cris Loira, a regular work group participant, on the streets of Porto Alegre’s main travesti prostitution zone and recounts the political reaction, including a protest march through downtown Porto Alegre, which arose in response to her murder. He concludes by assessing the cultural, organizational, and political factors that made this mobilization possible and argues that it constitutes an important step in the development of political organization among travestis in Brazil. Keywords: AIDS, non-governmental organizations, prostitution, sexuality, transgender, violence

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