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In some cultures, especially in South America, a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to non-feminine men ("androphilia"). Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way.
Travesti was initially a pejorative term, but has been reclaimed as a political noun by Argentinian and Peruvian travesti activists.
In French-speaking countries, travesti means transvestite, anyone who is dressing up as the opposite sex. In the Greek language, the same word (τραβεστί) is also used to describe people of the third gender, who might engage in prostitution. 'Travesti' derives from 'trans-vestir', or 'cross-dress'.
Travestis' feminine identity includes feminine dress, language, and social and sexual roles. However, in contrast to transsexual women, they do not suffer from gender dysphoria nor see themselves as women. Many describe themselves as gay or homosexual men. Travestis modify their bodies with industrial silicone injections, breast implants, or birth control pills, but do not desire sex reassignment surgery. Liquid silicone became popular among Brazillian travestis in the 80s.
Travestis emerged as a distinct social group in the 70s.
Third gender 
Travestis can be contrasted with transformistas (drag queens), who dress as women for performance and entertainment. As with other non-Western sex and gender identities, travestis do not easily fit into a Western taxonomy that separates sex and gender. Some writers in the English language have described travestis as transgender or as a third gender. Don Kulick described the gendered world of travestis in urban Brazil as having has two categories: "men" and "not men", with women, homosexuals and travestis belonging to the latter category. In her 1990 book, From Masculine To Feminine And All points In Between, Jennifer Anne Stevens defined travesti as "usually a gay male who lives full time as a woman; a gay transgenderist." The Oxford English Dictionary defines travesti as "a passive male homosexual or transvestite."
Sex industry 
Travestis often work in prostitution and pornography. One travesti organisation in Argentina reported in 2005 that 79% of the 302 travestis interviewed in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata work principally as prostitutes. Similar identity communities found in other countries include femminiello, kathoey and hijra.
In Mexico, travesti sex workers are among the groups most affected by HIV.
Travestis in Brazil are highly vulnerable to HIV.
See also 
|Look up travesti in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Reclaiming Travesti Histories.
- Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής
- Calkin, Jessamy. "The silicone sisterhood: Among Brazil's poor, there are three sexes: Men, women and travestis -biological males who have changed themselves by art and science into something very close to females. Many use liquid silicone injections in order to enhance the transformation; but the cost, for some, can be terrible". The Independent.
- Garcia, Marcos. Issues Concerning the Informality and Outdoor Sex Work Performed by Travestis in Sa ˜ o Paulo, Brazil.
- Kulick, Don (1998). Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)
- Stevens, Jennifer Anne (1990). From Masculine To Feminine And All points In Between. Cambridge, MA 02238: Different Path Press. ISBN 0-9626262-0-1.
- Oxford English Dictionary. Cambridge, MA 02238: Oxford University Press, USA. 1989. ISBN 978-0-19-861186-8.
- La gesta del nombre propio, edited by Lohana Berkins and Josefina Fernández for ALITT (Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti y Transgenero, "Association for the Fight for Travesti and Transgender Identity"), published by Ediciones de Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, 2005
- Sex work in Mexico: vulnerability of male, travesti, transgender and transsexual sex workers 11 (2). 2009.
- "Travestis, an unexplored population at risk of HIV in a large metropolis of northeast Brazil: A respondent-driven sampling survey". AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV 25 (5). 2013.
- Kulick, Don (1998), Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) ISBN 978-0-226-46100-7
- Prieur, Annick (1998), Mema’s House, Mexico City: On Transvestites, Queens, and Machos (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) ISBN 0-226-68257-9
- Fernández, Josefina (2004) Cuerpos desobedientes: de género, Buenos Aires, Edhasa, 2004.
- González Pérez, César O. (2003) dos al desnudo: homosexualidad, identidades y luchas territoriales en Colima, México, Miguel Angel Porrúa, 2003.