transgender, Amerindians, gender, kinship, performance


Based on long-term fieldwork experiences among both the Guna in Panama and the Kakataibo in Peruvian Amazonia, this article proposes to examine the transgender phenomenon in indigenous America. Making use of the notions of performance and status, we argue that (trans)gender should be understood via two complementary dimensions: at the same time that it is manifested in a set of expressive practices, it is also inscribed in a specific system of social organization. Adopting a pragmatic approach that emphasizes the relational, aesthetic and performative dimensions of gender, the article analyses the ways through which two Amerindian peoples negotiate and inhabit gender rules. This relational approach enables the exploration of gender experiences beyond the notions of female and male, and above all in line with local theories of the body and person.