Friday, October 12, 2007

Portrait of a marriage, 1901

Marcela Gracia Ibeas and Elisa Sanchez first met when studying at Teacher's College in La Coruña. Years later, they met again when teaching in a unmentioned village. By 1901, Elisa became a cross dresser and invented a life story for herself and took on a new identity as Mario. Both Marcela and Mario got married at the parochial church of St. George in La Coruña, blessed by father Cortiella, who had to baptize "Mario" unknowingly in the Catholic faith.
Their trick was eventually discovered, thus they were prosecuted by judicial system. This along with social homophobia, mockery and the inability for Elisa to find a job as her male identity Mario, led them to migrate to Argentina.
The portrait above is theirs, took by José Sellier Loup.
UPDATE: As it should have been, the LGBT Association of A Coruña, Milhomes, has provided several deeper details upon the story. A local newspaper, La Voz de Galicia, published in June 1988 a verisimilarly accurate account of both women's love affair (not available online on the paper's site, though transcribed by Milhomes in their Flickr account), marriage and eventual fleeing to Buenos Aires, after their trick was published on newspapers all over Spain and even Europe.
Collective Milhomes, the LGBT Association of A Coruña, launched a campaign in order to have a street in that town named after both women, providing with full details, and established an award: the "Homoxexual Award Parish of St. George". Apparently, upon changes in the management staff of Milhomes, such actions towards keeping both women's memory alive have been discontinued, as well as the award.

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