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Gender on the EdgeTransgender, Gay, and Other Pacific Islanders$
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Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838829

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838829.001.0001

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Men Trapped in Women’s Clothing

Men Trapped in Women’s Clothing

Homosexuality, Cross-Dressing, and Masculinity in Fiji

(p.162) Chapter 8 Men Trapped in Women’s Clothing
Gender on the Edge

Geir Henning Presterudstuen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the processes of gendered self-identification among non-heteronormative ethnic Fijian men in contemporary Fiji, with particular emphasis on their ambiguous relationship to Fijian traditional notions of gender and masculinity as normative concepts. It considers three distinct categories of non-heteronormative men: transvestites; qauri or “queens”; and those who dress and act “straight,” but privately and sexually identify themselves as “homosexuals.” It also discusses qauri's link to cross-dressing or “transvestism” as well as the extent to which dominant discourses in Fiji narrowly associate all non-heteronormative identities with vakasalewalewa, a traditional concept that today is often understood as equivalent to transgenderism. Finally, it looks at the most visible representation of qauri in contemporary Fiji, namely, drag shows.

Keywords:   gendered self-identification, Fiji, gender, masculinity, non-heteronormative men, transvestites, qauri, homosexuals, cross-dressing, drag shows

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