Monday, December 1, 2008

Girl Who Wed Another Girl

Girl Who Wed Another Girl: Pre-1950 Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Marriages in the U.S. is a small photographic exhibit that is currently at the San Francisco Main Library. This exhibit shows about 16 photographs, newspaper clippings, court documents and marriage licenses for about four or five documented same-sex marriages.
I think that this is a large topic that was just barely skimmed in this show. I think that with the extensive access to the local archives at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, that whomever put this show together could have found further material to further build the historical references that they were drawing.
I found the exploration of gender informative, specifically with the given time period. That women would literally choose to take male names in order to live as men, marry women and/or because at least one woman felt like she had always been assigned the wrong sex at birth really relevant to the times that we are living in. It is phenomenal that a man would be able to marry three times to different men and live as a wife to these men and not have the public know of his biological sex until his death.
Specifically, I felt that it was a good beginning to show some understanding of gender differences and how things have changed socially, if only for the worse. The women whom were investigated were charged with misrepresenting themselves, simply impersonation. However, the idea, at least at that time, that there was something "wrong" with same-sex marriage apparently wasn't as widespread as it is today based on how judges and juries settled these cases. However, the newspaper articles are rather limited and redundant. I would like to know what exactly has changed in our society, (the Cold War, Sexual Revolution?) that would cause us to go backwards, from acceptance to intolerance?

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