This article is a travesti assemblage. It is formed from three different but interconnected sections. The first is a life story of a young working-class Peruvian travesti, Sandra. My reading of this particular travesti narrative is an attempt to mark a queer existence or presence in and against worlds, institutions, and collectives that historically have attempted to erase such an existence. The second is an exploration of the encounter of an ethnographer and an informant. This second section attempts to undo and displace, through dialogue with dreams and nightmares, some of the certainties that the ethnographic encounter has come to imply. The third section introduces the queer art of lying, another form of aesthetic and political reflexivity, and rethinks all I have presented thus far by exploring its limits. The article concludes with a critical plea for engaging with the queer art of lying, in order to imagine new forms of travesti survival, and less cruel ways of travesti death.
Travesti Dreams Outside in the Ethnographic Machine
Giancarlo Cornejo is University of California President’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Davis, and assistant professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California. His articles have appeared in journals such as TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Journal of Homosexuality, and Estudos Feministas. His book manuscript, “Travesti Memory and Politics: Toward a Peruvian Transgender Imaginary,” proposes travestismo as a critical tool to read the unstable and contested production of gender, sexuality, and race in contemporary Latin America.
Giancarlo Cornejo; Travesti Dreams Outside in the Ethnographic Machine. GLQ 1 June 2019; 25 (3): 457–482. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-7551140
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