Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality - Tommaso M. Milani

Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality - Tommaso M. Milani

5. Do Bodies Matter? Travestis' Embodiment of (Trans)Gender Identity through the Manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese Grammatical Gender System

Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality - Tommaso M. Milani

Rodrigo Borba [+-]
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Rodrigo Borba is an Assistant Professor of English Language at the Anglo-German Literature Department of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Ana Cristina Ostermann [+-]
UNISINOS - Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos
Ana Cristina Ostermann is Professor of Linguistics at Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos.

Description

This study investigates Southern Brazilian travestis’ manipulation of gender identity through the manipulation of the Portuguese grammatical gender system. We argue that the embodiment of feminine features onto biologically male bodies enables travestis to wander through various ideologies about masculinity and femininity and incorporate these ideologies in their linguistic construction of identity. Travestis use masculine forms to refer to themselves or other travestis when: (1) producing narratives about the time before their body transformations took place; (2) reporting speech produced by others when talking about travestis; (3) talking about themselves within their family relationships; and, perhaps the most unveiling category, (4) distinguishing themselves from ‘other’ travestis they do not identify with – a face-saving strategy. Thus, the study shows how southern Brazilian travestis use the grammatical gender system in Portuguese as a linguistic resource to manipulate their identity/ies and the identity/ies of the community they belong to.

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Citation

Borba, Rodrigo; Ostermann, Ana Cristina. 5. Do Bodies Matter? Travestis' Embodiment of (Trans)Gender Identity through the Manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese Grammatical Gender System. Queering Language, Gender and Sexuality. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 89-102 Feb 2018. ISBN 9781781794944. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30448. Date accessed: 19 Sep 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30448. Feb 2018

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