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Cidades- desejo: uma etnografia trans nas fronteiras do urbano. Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropologyvol. DOI: Abstract: This paper discusses the concepts of borders and urbanities based on individuals and collectivities that circulate in the margins Rio de janeiro women wanting sex cities and form the fabric of the so-called sex market; they may identify themselves but not necessarily as travestis and transsexual women.
Based on the circulation of transgender people in the margins of cities, this study is an attempt to understand the kind of urban models that emerge from these liminal experiences, which shift between spatial, physical and symbolic boundaries. This investigation suggests the need to rethink the field of city anthropology in Brazil by taking as its basis the models of urban forms that allow for intersections between countryside and city, forest and metropolis, outskirts and downtown. Key-words: transsexuals, cities, borders, sex, urban. Palavras-chave: travestis, cidades, fronteiras, sexo, urbanidade.
On one hand, these are the places that public security and human rights policies include in the so-called routes of sexual exploitation and the trafficking in persons; on the other, they are spaces of resistance and of ample exchange networks that open up space for modes of existence excluded from traditional familiar models, hosting travestis1 transsexual women and gay men who engage in various activities, such as hair and beauty services, prostitution and other forms of paid sex. Such regimes are detached from any city in itself and shaped by an urban network that comprehends small, medium and large-sized cities.
Nevertheless, they are first of all built from the circulation and occupation of the city dwellers. Such a universe involves a wide range ofdefinitions and classifications, some of which are mobile, others fixed. These - being or having been a travesti or a transsexual woman - depend chiefly on self-identification and community recognition from a group of sociability or political movement. They shape gender identities, lifestyles, forms of sociability, bodily constructions.
Over and above identarian and sexual constructs, this work intends to think about new possibilities of the urban that are not directly associated with specific cities: urbanity in the margins, defined by spatial mobility and bodily transformation. Both regions have an urban complexity that directs the anthropological gaze to different city scales.
Shifting between rural, indigenous and riverine universes, they allow for the elaboration of theoretical-methodological perspectives favorable to the understanding of this urban fabric that is at once distant and close to the models of metropolitan urbanity. It is not just a morphological unity, but a way of life that expands into rural zones and builds its own system of values. The reflection presented here from research studies undertaken by several researchers at different academic stages. These latter studies focused specifically on cisgender women who work as prostitutes or in activities linked to paid sex.
In territorial terms, such spaces are located around small and medium-scale cities, reasonably close to the capitals. Their strategic situation allows for a great circulation of people, vehicles, information and relationship networks. As the basis of our theoretical reflections, the ethnographic perspective is conceived as living knowledge, built from experience and capable of acquiring a certain kind of totality.
An ethnographic theory has the objective of elaborating a model for understanding any social subject language, magic, politics that, even though produced in and for a particular context, is capable of functioning as a matrix of intelligibility for other contexts An ethnographic theory works somewhat like the savage mind: it employs the very concrete elements collected in the fieldwork and by other means in order to articulate them into somewhat more abstract propositions capable of rendering intelligibility to events and to the world.
Goldman,p. Resembling an intricate piece of jewelry Magnani,constructed from unique fragments of different sources and materials, ethnography develops through its own making, alternating the point of view of the observer and the perspective of the observed. The theory, then, is the inseparable double of ethnography, or rather, ethnography is theory and creates the conditions for a singular way of seeing, hearing and interpreting.
Brazilian academic production on travestis and transsexualism in anthropology and in the human sciences in general is recent and began to develop in the late s. Or better, it is as if there were an urban model that crossed the metropolitan borders and allowed a circulation between secondary and capital cities, countryside and town, rivers and seas. He began his anthropological research precisely to provide academic support to the policy for Rio de janeiro women wanting sex AIDS in Rio de Janeiro.
Silva's investigations open up a dialogical perspective and present a rich ethnographic description of the travestis working as prostitutes in the Lapa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. He was concerned to understand the relation between the travestis and wider society and sought to unveil their social identity, showing that metropolitan life provided visibility for the travestiswho no longer needed to hide themselves in the streets of big cities. It becomes, then, clear that research on travestis takes as a given fact, a priorithe relations between travestisprostitution and metropolises, as if these were elements specific to large urban agglomerations.
It is important to note that these works contain a rich discussion on the process of the travesti identity and its affective and family relationships Oliveira,Pirani,Jayme KulickFlorentino In a way, the investigations of this period share a concern to humanize the travestisshowing that they have an occupation, a family, marital relations, etc. Since the s, research on travestis and transsexuals has ificantly increased in different areas of the human sciences in Brazil, exploring the subject on various questions involving the processes of bodily, identity and sexuality constructions; generational differences; transnationalism and migration; forms of violence, etc.
It is important to note that during the s the social movements fighting for the transgender cause began to grow in strength.
This brief cartography is simply intended to demonstrate that academic research on transsexuality has generally focused on capitals and metropolitan areas. I shall examine these two locations, therefore, in order to unpack the meanings of the urban for my research interlocutors and how cities are felt and lived during their transits and stops.
I begin with the Amazonian context. The GEU began its research in with the intention of observing the indigenous presence in Amazonian cities. Diag with these two experiences, in I began my own investigations on the triple border and carried out fieldwork in February. Later, Thiago Oliveira 12 spent another period immersed in the field in July. Disembarking from a canoe, boat or launch in the port of Tabatinga and walking toward Amizade Av. Some are in charge of the salons, others work temporarily, others just stop by to chat.
The centrality of this street Rio de janeiro women wanting sex between the port and the main avenue - le to a high circulation of pedestrians and motorcycles. Some 1, km mi. The area as a whole forms an urban network difficult for the outsider to apprehend and understand. It has better urban infrastructure, comprises a regional center for the sale of imported products, and receives tourists attracted by a range of different activities geared towards ecotourism and ethnic tourism. In this region of the border, the presence of the Ticuna indigenous people, as well as other ethnic groups, is clearly evident.
The metaphor of the mosaic may not be the most appropriate to express the social diversity making up the city of Tabatinga. It is inadequate because the mosaic composes, out of a diverse jumble of pieces, a coherent whole whose parts are harmonically juxtaposed. It would be equally arbitrary to limit such a scenario to the geopolitical borders of the cities, Brazilian or otherwise. Cunha, : 10 On our field trips, we were able to meet Peruvians living in Brazil for some time, who had already circulated in some nearby cities or other regions, and who worked in Tabatinga as hairdressers, in addition to performing sex for monetary exchanges in their free time, or vice-versa.
We also approached Colombians who live in Leticia and Brazilians who had already circulated through different cities in other regions of Brazil. Between Peruvian, Colombian and Brazilian interlocutors, 18 there is a polysemy of lifestyles, forms of corporal construction and subjectivities, which depend on nationality or origin. There is, however, a strong relationship between processes of feminization and beauty that can be observed in all of them. As far as the spatial shifts go, though, they depend on other markers of difference, such as generation and nationality.
Unlike Brazilian travestis in both Tabatinga and the Northeast, their Peruvian peers seem to have a less categorical identity classification and also do not undergo such intensive bodily modifications through hormone therapies and plastic surgeries. Before working as a hairdresser, she also worked as a prostitute. First she went to Benjamin Constant before moving to Tabatinga. At the same time she speaks with sadness of having been abandoned by her family when she was young, and of having few friends in Tabatinga, since there are few of her age who remain in the city.
Marcela, 28, also Peruvian, has been in Tabatinga for 11 years but has already circulated in several countries and regions of Brazil.
It is no wonder that the location where sexual transactions with the lowest monetary value take place in Tabatinga is the market area, near the port and the beauty salons that we visited. The region where less expensive sexual transactions take place in Tabatinga is the market, conceived as an urban space that articulates Peruvianness, illegality, poverty and indigeneity.
This region of the market, classified as Peruvian territory, is also frequented by Brazilian travestis like Gisela. The triple border can be analyzed as an urban complex Olivar,not defined by each administrative unit separately, but instead by the relations that these small cities establish between themselves and by the ways in which people and collectivities circulate within and classify them.
In these neighborhoods, there is a concentration of beauty salons, where they receive clients, can readily observe who comes and goes, exchange and receive information and build affective relationships - which may be mediated by material relationships too. They sell products, hair and also their own bodies, which, in the afternoon, move from the salons to the squares and bars and the famous Scandalus nightclub as they search of sex and money. These cities located on and belonging to the borders can be thought of, therefore, as strategic places where circulation and mobility are present in the constitution of a certain trans urbanity, which takes place precisely in the impermanence and movement between cities on the urban margins.
Inspired by Michel Agier, we can think of invisibleunofficial cities found both in metropolises and in rural or quasi-rural regions. This allows us to begin to observe cities as a hologram built by the cities dwellers. New possibilities can be anticipated, therefore, for thinking beyond geopolitical limits and expanding the range of research contexts in the area of urban anthropology.
In the morning, they return to their small houses or rented rooms. Built in the s, there is an intense movement of people and vehicles on the road, separating the city into two poles. On the righthand side is the economic and political center of Mamanguape, occupied by traditional families, banks, public offices, markets, shops, universities, etc.
All along the left side of the road there are motels, bars, gas stations, restaurants and so on where women and travestis offer prostitution services to both workers and truck drivers. The roide of the BR highway, which at first sight might be seen as no more than a temporary place of passage for travelers, features a variety of economic activities - various garages, gas stations, motels, bars, restaurants, cashew nut hawkers, prostitutes, and so on.
It is also a place for children and youth from the districts of Areal and Planalto to socialize, using the roide to play football and fly kites. Rio Tinto, with approximately 22, inhabitants, was built in the early twentieth century to receive the facilities and workers village of Companhia de Tecidos Rio Tinto belonging to the Lundgren family, the same owners as Companhia de Tecidos Paulista, located in Paulista, 19 Pernambuco. Recent years have seen the emergence and strengthening of the Potiguara indigenous peoples, and their success in achieving demarcation of their lands, some of which are located within the urban perimeter.
In relation to income, A large portion of Rio de janeiro women wanting sex low-income population works temporarily in sugarcane processing factories producing alcohol and sugarlocated in the vicinity of the urban area. The families of Marta and Raiany, young travestis and our interlocutors in this research, are part of this context of poverty. During our fieldwork between andthey were aged 19 and 17, respectively.
The father, a blacksmith, did autonomous and intermittent work, and often found himself intoxicated, which would lead to rows and physical aggression. Marta and Raiany worked at night and slept most of the day. On weekends, Marta would visit her parents, tillers at the Uruba site in the rural area of Mataraca, a municipality near Mamanguape.
Raiany started in prostitution at the age of twelve. By the time we met her, she had begun ingesting hormones and we were able to observe how her body grew more feminine as time went on and she obtained more money from prostitution work. Little by little, she started to buy new clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, accessories, hair care, etc. The care and transformation of the body, as well as the dealings and tricks of the business and the relationships with clients, are all things learned among friends, who exchange information, knowledge and strategies.
Body construction, in the researched contexts, accompanies territorial displacements. To modify Rio de janeiro women wanting sex bodies, receive silicone implants, undergo plastic surgeries that increase or shrink buttocks, noses, lips, waists and cheekbones, buy wigs or use mega hair techniques, buy heeled shoes in the right sizes and sexy clothes, make use of healthier hormone therapies, and so on, they need to travel to the major cities and, in order to do that, they need to make money in the sex markets. Throughout the research we met travestis from different parts of Brazil, some of whom had even spent a season in Europe, in countries such as Italy and Spain.
Among the younger travestisespecially those who have not yet been able to travel to other cities, there is a desire to leave their place of origin and go to a city that gives them greater financial returns and greater social value. There is a certain world view that accompanies a folk-urban continuum Redfield,which runs from the rural to the metropolitan environment, the latter represented especially by Europe. Accompanying the circuit of sex markets, esthetic-corporal production becomes more visible, and exalted, in beauty contests like Miss Gay, Miss Trans and Top Drag, among others.
Being on stage allows them to begin to fortify their female souls, backed by the cheering crowds.
In this sense, a close relationship exists between the production of beauty, body transformation, sexual economies and spatial displacements. Body and space are embedded in a permanent game of desire, consumption and mobility. And so, between body and space, subjectivities and affectivities are produced. Her case did not even generate a police report and adding to the list of so many other unpunished crimes against travesti s and transsexuals that occur daily in Brazil.
Rumors are that she was trying to help another travesti who was being beaten on the street and that her corpse was found some distance from the city. She had not yet mastered the local logic, permeated by a complex network of relationships and groups, in a city of metropolitan dimensions, with more than 1, inhabitants. Even after the murder of Marta, Raiany kept maturing the idea of leaving Mamanguape. Finally she went to risk her luck in Rio de Janeiro. From then on, we lost contact with her. The tragic episode with her friend did not stop her from dreaming of a more glamorous life in a capital city and leaving the small Mamanguape.
The complex configuration of urban spaces in the contemporary world, the discussions on global cities and world cities Sassen,the post-urban Rio de janeiro women wanting sex,transits and transnational networks Piscitelli,flows and mobilities Hannerz, ; Agier,circuits and paths Magnani, and invisible cities Latourincite us to elaborate new ethnographic perspectives in the field of urban anthropology in Brazil.
In general terms, this research area has mainly focused on large-scale cities, exploring the diversity of populations and their growth, migratory processes, spaces of segregation, forms of violence, and so forth. Little attention has been given so far, though, to processes that cross interurban boundaries and mobilize distinct scales that allow mobility between large, medium and small cities, between the forest and the capital, between the coast and the inland.
Here it is a question of mobilities, not migrations, a flux in which there is not a single place of arrival, nor one point of origin - movements of people who prostitute themselves, cisgender and transgender women and travestisagents who participate in sexual economies, travelers who find their own permanence in the movement and the journey.
They move between cities and model themselves in the fabric of temporary experiences in places that offer them the possibilities for social and economic ascension and that, at the same time, are more likely to accept their ways of being, past and present, usually considered abject. This research is pursued not just in cities located on political-administrative maps, but in territorialities that are made and remade by urban experiences materialized both inside and outside official cities, which take shape in their mobility and their heterogeneity Delgado,Rio de janeiro women wanting sex
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