Mario/Elisa and Marcela: Scandal and Surprise in the 1901 Spanish Press

Joyce L Tolliver, Sean McDaniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes the coverage found in the local and national press of the now-famous marriage of Mario/Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Elisa Gracia Ibeas in 1901 Galicia. We show that the coverage that appeared in the weeks following the event reflected the public’s willingness to question the stability and validity of gender as a category that structured social rights and privileges. We contextualize that questioning within the post-1898 Spanish fin de siglo sense of social instability and reassessment of traditional Spanish cultural institutions. We conclude that today’s framing of the event as a story of two exceptional lesbian women elides both Mario/Elisa’s self-identified transgenderism and the 1901 public’s recognition of the profound social significance of the successful passing act that the marriage represented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalBulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • matrimonio sin hombre
  • domain
  • El Suceso Ilustrado
  • Elisa Sánchez Loriga
  • Emilia Pardo Bazán
  • fin de siglo
  • gender
  • journalism
  • La Voz de Galicia
  • Marcela Gracia Ibeas
  • passing
  • script
  • Spain's first gay marriage
  • Spanish press
  • transgender


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