“Making a Scene”

Travestis and the Gendered Politics of Space in Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Charles H. Klein


On the night of July 21, 1994, Cristina Loira, a travesti1 sex worker, was murdered by a john on the streets of Porto Alegre’s main travesti prostitution zone. That same night, Heidi, another travesti who witnessed the killing, reported the crime and the identity of the killer to the police. As is often the case when travestis are killed in Brazil, the police did not conduct a thorough investigation, and no one was arrested or tried for the murder. Given this police inaction, and the fact that Cris was but one of a number of travestis who had been murdered in the past 12 months, a group of travestis based out of the Support Group for AIDS Prevention (GAPA)2 decided it was time to take the issue of violence against travestis to the people of Porto Alegre. Over the next few weeks, several GAPA staff people, in conjunction with the travesti groups, organized a coalition who staged a protest march against violence of more than 80 people through downtown Porto Alegre on August 23, 1994.


Brazilian City Sexual Culture Transgendered Person National AIDS Program Protest March 
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© Rosario Montoya, Lessie Jo Frazier, and Janise Hurtig 2002

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  • Charles H. Klein

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