As such, it might be hard to distinguish the more Iberian, medical establishment- and dictionary-sanctioned, definition of travesti, which is one of gender expression and/or fetishism ( as the general hobby/interest, more particularly in Brazil), and the more Latin American understanding of travesti, or simultaneously the socio-political and non-Western gender identity, more directly tied to other aspects of Latino expressions of transgenderness.

This adds to the increasing trans insatisfaction with the narrative of pathologization of the commonly "true transsexual"-associated "gender identity disorder" / "gender dysphoria" as a mental illness (versus transvestic fetishism as a paraphilia supposedly requiring no medical intervention through hormone therapy and body modification), and the necessity for such diagnosis to legally modify one's body or legal identity markers, or to be offered medical government sponsorship to do so.

Official government policy in Brazil, for example, has included distinguished areas for travestis in male-only prisons, while trans women and trans men might both be sent to female-only prisons, in a 2014 resolution allowing freedom for gender expression of inmates.

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Furthermore, Kulick suggests that travestis—far from deviating from normative gendered expectations—may in fact distill and perfect the messages that give meaning to gender throughout Brazilian society and possibly throughout much of Latin America.

Through Kulick's engaging voice and sharp analysis, this elegantly rendered account is not only a landmark study in its discipline but also a fascinating read for anyone interested in sexuality and gender.

Travestis might identify under any sexual orientation (including lesbian) identity, under the assumption of the "defining feature" of their identity being either their gender designated at birth or their feminine socio-psychological identity.

It is increasingly advised for people to treat travestis under the same language they would use to convey the identities women (cis and trans alike) adopt.

This preoccupation with physical changes to genitalia is condemned by some local activists and their allies, but it is still highly prevalent, up to the pervasive use of male pronouns by media of people known to be travestis when most travesti refer to each other using feminine pronouns.

Transgender people of non-binary gender identities that are not feminine with seemingly feminine gender expression or body modifications might also be misgendered (referring to a person in a way ignorant of that person's gender identity) for the same reasons, aside disregard for the concept of a gender other than man or woman and people who feel like belonging in them (gender binarism, also known as exorsexism in some circles).

Kulick also looks at how travestis earn their living through prostitution and discusses the reasons prostitution, for most travestis, is a positive and affirmative experience.

Arguing that transgenderism never occurs in a "natural" or arbitrary form, Kulick shows how it is created in specific social contexts and assumes specific social forms.

Nevertheless, such conception of the differences between travesti and transsexual has become disputed, as this invalidates the identities of many travestis and trans women alike, measuring a "valid identity" by one's degree of dysphoria and body modification, rather than self-identification.