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Tridisha Ghosh | Participant 30

The Story Of The First Queer Marriage : Women Chose Love

About a century before same-sex marriage become legal in several countries, the two courageous women followed their hearts and tied the knot.

Marcela Gracia Ibeas and Elisa Sárchez Loriga were greatly in love and all the wanted was to be together their love was snubbed because they were both women but this didn't stop them. They travelled from state to state and even had to change their identity just to make their relationship possible.

Marcela and Elisa reportedly met in a school in A Coruña , Spain while they were both studying to be teachers. They were

just friends at first, but eventually, they sparked a deeper connection. As time went on, their relationship became even more intimate.

Marcela's parents saw their close connection , they shipped off her to Madrid in hopes that distance will hush whatever passion she and Elisa shared. But , they were wrong.

When Elisa and Marcela met again years later they were already in their teaching careers. Later they would get their teaching positions within walking distance of each other and spending time together everyday after class.

This went on until 1901 when Elisa adopted a fake identity so she could marry Marcela.

They achieved this by having Elisa put on a fake identity as a Man. Elisa cut her hair short and started wearing suits to put on a Masculine apperance. She adopted the name "Mario" and created a fake back story for him they claimed that Mario was Elisa's cousin who had grown up in London as an atheist.

This event would later be known as one of the earliest recorded same-sex marriages.

As one might expect the Elisa and marcela's marriage did not go unnoticed by their neighbours. The "marriage without a man" (as it was dubbed) sparked several reactions and made newspaper headlines. Soon , those around them could no longer turn a blind eye.

Both were fired from the teaching jobs and excommunicated from the Parish church as a result of the story going into international news. The priest that with them requested a doctor to examine Mario to see if you are a man or a woman. Even though Mario try to claim to be a hermaphrodite, the true nature of the marriage was eventually revealed.

Marcela and Elisa was soon caughy by the Portuguese police and arrested. The Portuguese government planned to extradite them to Spain but before the couple could be sent back they were cleared for the crimes in Portugal and release before they extradition. They used as an opportunity flee to Argentina before they put extradited back to Spain.

There the changed the names Elisa to Maria and Marcela to Carmen, and started working in the domestic service industry. Later, Elisa Married a man named Christian Jensen. She then invited Marcela and their daughter to live with her and Jensen under the disguise that she was her sister, Carmen. Jensen grew suspicious when Elisa refused to consummate the marriage and eventually figured out Elisa and marcela's true identities. Jensen took Elisa to court once again but the court found that their marriage was valid since this one was between a man and a woman. Little is known about what happened to Marcela and Elisa after this point. There are vague rumours that Elisa committed suicide and Marcela married a man, but none of this can be confirmed.

Several decades after Elisa and Marcela fought for their love, a film was made in the honour. Released in 2019 Elisa and Marcela retold the story of this pioneering women.

Interesting, this film about the ladies led to the discovery of a long lost descendant.

An argentinian woman named Norma graciela Moure recently came out as Marcela's great grand daughter while doing some research on her family she found out about the film that was made about Marcela whom she had known under her argentinian alias, Marcela Carmen gracias. This means that she is the granddaughter of the baby girl mashallah give birth in Portugal. She saw that historian Narciso de Gabriel wrote a book about Mercela and Elisha called Elisa y Marcela : Amigas y Amantes (Eliza and Marcela : friends and lovers) She saw a great resemblance between and ancestor and the woman on the cover of the book, so Mourne reached out to their Gabriel, sending him her grandmother and great-grandmother birth certificates. De Gabriel confirmed to her that her great grandmother Marcela was the same woman.

Marcela and Elisa were married about one hundred years ago before same-sex marriage was legalized in Spain in 2005. But their heart-wrenching love story did have a strong impact, being known as two of the earliest Spanish pioneers in Same-Sex marriage. A street is named after them in A Coruña.

Their story expresses that were queer people present before there was any acceptance for them in society and it will lead to more content about where the LGBTQ community fits in.

I am seriously impressed by these women's courage and delighted to share this heartwarming story of love, devotion and pure girl power.


Written By : Tridisha Ghosh

Instagram Handle : @Bubble_gum__bish

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